Number of Applications and Average Waiting Time for Public Rental Housing
The average waiting time in the third quarter of 2023 has increased to 5.6 years. It is expected that there will be a small increase in the future. However, with the completion of Light Public Housing, the waiting time will fall in 2025. In other words, the target of capping the waiting time at six-year will not be affected. The Composite Waiting Time will drop to 4.5 years in 2026/27.
The Housing Authority’s objective is to provide public rental housing (PRH) to low-income families who cannot afford private rental accommodation, with the target of providing the first flat offer to general applicants (i.e. family and elderly one-person applicants) at around three years on average. The average waiting time* target of around three years is not applicable to non-elderly one-person applicants under the Quota and Points System.
As at end-September 2023, the average waiting time for general applicants who were housed to PRH in the past 12 months was 5.6 years. Among them, the average waiting time for elderly one-person applicants was 3.9 years. In the third quarter of 2023, about 3 500 general applicants were housed to PRH; about 940 of them were elderly one-person applicants. On the other hand, about 150 non-elderly one-person applicants under the Quota and Points System were housed to PRH in the same quarter.
The average waiting time in each quarter is affected by a number of factors, including the number of PRH flats available for allocation, the number of PRH applicants, the applicants’ district choice, and whether the supply of new and recovered PRH flats matches with the applicants’ district choice, etc. Therefore, the average waiting time would fluctuate in the short term. The average waiting time this quarter has increased by 0.3 year to 5.6 years over the last quarter (i.e. end-June 2023), which is mainly due to a reduction in supply of new PRH flats in the past few quarters. The PRH production this year is at the lowest level among the coming few years. As a result, the majority of general applicants housed in the past 12 months were housed to refurbished flats in Urban and Extended Urban districts. Given that their waiting times are longer than the applicants for PRH flats in the New Territories by about a year, the average waiting time has increased.
It is estimated that the average waiting time will continue to rise in the first half of 2024. However, with the increase in PRH supply in Tuen Mun, Tung Chung and New Territories North in 2024/25, and in Kwun Tong, Kwu Tung North, Fanling North and Sheung Shui, etc in 2025/26 as well as the completion of 30 000 Light Public Housing units starting from 2025, the overall public housing supply will register obvious increase. The target of capping the average waiting time at six years remains unchanged and the Composite Waiting Time for Subsidised Rental Housing will drop to 4.5 years in 2026/27.
Starting from 2028/29 until the second five-year period under the Long Term Housing Strategy (i.e. 2029/30 to 2033/34), the supply of traditional PRH will increase substantially. With the current government’s efforts to enhance the speed and the quantity in land creation for housing, the overall public housing supply will be a firm upward path. The current short-term increase in average waiting time is a necessary stage to go through before the trend takes a clear turn.
As at end-September 2023, there were about 132 000 general applications for PRH, and about 96 600 non-elderly one-person applications under the Quota and Points System.
*The average waiting time is calculated as the average of the waiting time of those general applicants who were housed to PRH in the past 12 months. Waiting time basically refers to the time taken between registration for PRH and first flat offer, excluding any frozen period during the application period (e.g. when the applicant has not yet fulfilled the residence requirement; the applicant has requested to put his/her application on hold pending arrival of family members for family reunion; the applicant is imprisoned, etc).
Waiting time distribution of general applicants housed to public rental housing
In view of the public's concern about the waiting time of general applicants for PRH, the Housing Department conducts a special analysis on the housing situation of general applicants for PRH every year, including the waiting time distribution of general applicants housed to PRH in the past year. Please click the link below for the waiting time distribution of general applicants housed to PRH in the most recent analysis:
The above information only shows the waiting time distribution of general applicants housed to PRH between July 2021 and June 2022. Past trends are not indicative of the future. The information only serves as a general reference and should not be used as the basis for projecting the waiting time of individual applicants.
For the new index of “Composite Waiting Time for Subsidised Rental Housing” announced by the Chief Executive in the 2022 Policy Address, please refer to the relevant webpage on the Housing Bureau’s website.