For 3 years, 2011, 2012 and 2013, we launched more than 25,000 BTO flats per year, for a total of 77,000 flats. This is a record construction programme, but necessary to meet pent-up demand especially by first-timers. The effort has been effective in clearing their waiting queue.
As for the 2015 BTO programme, we have studied the recent BTO application rates, and will further pace it down, by another 25%.
In the past few years, we launch BTO exercises every other month, i.e. 6 times a year, at an average of about 4,000 units per launch. From next year, we will launch BTO exercises quarterly, i.e. 4 times a year. We will maintain the BTO launch size at about 4,000 units. This means a BTO programme of about 16,000 units next year.
This should be sufficient to meet demand, without causing a glut in the public housing market.
We are also taking steps to further help families live close to one another. Currently, they get extra ballot chances. In future BTO exercises, we will set aside a certain proportion of flat supply for those applicants who want to live close to one another. In addition, first priority will also be given to those who are applying to live under one roof. First priority will also be extended to parents who own a flat in the mature estate and apply for a flat in the non-mature estate to live near their married child.
These suggestions came up during the recent Housing Conversations. We are happy to adopt them at the next BTO launch next month.
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