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Hong Kong plans housing for locals only to tame property prices

Hong Kong plans housing for locals only to tame property prices - Hong Kong - property prices

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong's leader-elect on Wednesday said his government would launch a pilot project to build middle-class housing for residents only, hoping to cool soaring property prices that have sparked a backlash against unlimited sales to overseas buyers.

Leung Chun-ying, who on Sunday won a contest decided by prominent citizens to become the next chief executive of the financial hub, said the idea is to sell land for developments that would be restricted to Hong Kong residents. The government owns all land in the city and sells it on long leases.

"This will be residential land suitable for middle class incomes," said Leung, who takes office on July 1. "It's a political move to address sentiment in the market. It's not going to form the bulk of supply."

But the former land surveyor said his aim was not to depress private housing prices or rents. He faces a stiff test when he takes office, having won a divisive contest.

Low interest rates thanks to Hong Kong's currency peg to the U.S. dollar have led to "hot money" entering the city's famously open economy, much of it finding a home in residential property.


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