Hong Kong Has ‘Got it Wrong’ on Public Housing, Developer Says

(Bloomberg) -- “Somebody’s going to kill me,” Kenneth Ng, a director of Hong Kong developer Wing Tai Properties Ltd., told his audience -- twice -- as he criticized the government’s housing policy.

Ng spoke on a panel Wednesday at the MIPIM Asia Property Leaders’ Summit, a two-day event staged in a city that’s become notorious for being the world’s least affordable when it comes to housing. The authorities have “got it wrong” with how they deal with land above subway stations, he said.

Instead of the sites being left to developers, Hong Kong’s government should mandate they’re used at least in part for public housing, Ng said.

Ng’s comments came during a discussion around how poor people often get pushed to the fringes of cities. In his view, the sites above subway stations could be a good way to deal with housing needs in the middle of a city. Elderly citizens would also benefit from the proximity to transport.

His thoughts feed into the debate on how to tackle Hong Kong’s housing ills, which has already spawned Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s plan for building artificial islands.

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