Editorial : To curb hoarding by developers, vacancy tax merits consideration

【明報專訊】CHAN MO-PO, the Financial Secretary, has said that the government is studying ways to free up empty homes, with a vacancy tax being one of the measures under consideration. Hong Kong property prices are high, and the main reason is supply shortage. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that some developers do not want to sell their newly built flats in one shot because they have found that property prices rise consistently. Their practice has helped fuel the soaring property prices. To increase supply in the market, the government must take action to force developers to sell their flats as soon as possible. In recent years,governments of many big cities abroad have introduced vacancy tax and other measures to crack down on overseas investors and speculators. Even though the overall vacancy rate is not high in Hong Kong, the government should still learn from overseas experience proactively and introduce measures to free up more vacant flats to satisfy the needs of Hong Kong people.