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Reduce affordable housing prices

Leong Sun Iok, Federation of Macao Workers' Associations

The Government recently announced adjustments to the limits on monthly income and liquid assets for housing applicants and family members. According to the opinion of the committee that evaluated the amendment to the Affordable Housing Law, it was indicated that the most recent income and asset limits announced by the Chief Executive will still be followed before allocating apartments.

However, the Government has indicated that it is necessary to ensure that housing units are actually used by those who need them most, and that these changes are necessary and reasonable.

Although the price of private housing in Macau has been adjusted compared to the pre-pandemic period, it is still unaffordable for residents with average incomes.

While understanding that housing is a limited public resource, this adjustment will ultimately exclude some applicants who would otherwise be eligible.

This will have a direct impact on the housing planning of affected groups if they are unable to find apartments on the private housing market. Even though affected groups still consider intermediate housing as a means of meeting their housing needs, there is still a long way to go.

The Administration should accelerate the construction of intermediate housing and make relevant information, including the sales price, public to alleviate the concerns of affected applicants. Regarding prices, two years ago the Administration stated that the price per square meter of an affordable housing unit was MOP5,000, and that the price of an intermediate housing unit would be determined based on the prices of private apartments in neighboring areas .

In other words, the price of intermediate housing in Wai Long Avenue can be comparable to that of affordable housing if we refer to the current price per square meter in the second-hand private market in the neighboring area. Although economic and intermediate housing are characterized as public and private housing, respectively, there is a “ladder” relationship between the two, and the price difference will have a direct impact on the five housing classes.

Although the Affordable Housing Law clearly stipulates that the land concession premium, construction cost and administrative cost must be taken into consideration when determining the sales price, this does not mean that there is no scope for the Government to adjust the sales price to low. As there is no clear proportion of the above three factors and the calculation of the administrative cost has the condition of flexibility, it is suggested that the Administration adjusts the sale price of economic housing downwards in order to avoid the ladder effect between Housing Economic and Intermediate Housing.
Only through the implementation of a permanent process can residents in housing need hope to receive an apartment. Furthermore, the data collected allows the Government to better understand the community, so that future construction of affordable housing better meets needs depending on the type and number of families, and that public money is used effectively.

Macau Institution People’s Alliance(api)*

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