Housing Question and Social Discontent After 1997: History and Continuity of Home Ownership

  • Tze Ken YauEmail author
Part of the Studies in the Political Economy of Public Policy book series (PEPP)


The doctrine of positive non-interventionism was adopted by the Hong Kong Government as an excuse to escape from its social welfare obligations in the colonial era and after the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). However, the Hong Kong Government has been taking a comparatively active role in housing policy, particularly in encouraging home ownership. This inconsistency can be explained by the special nature and role of the Government in housing policy and home ownership. The colonial government in Hong Kong achieved a significant achievement in home ownership rate in the private sector before the handover of sovereignty in 1997. Although the housing question in Hong Kong was one of the top concerns of the public before 1997, its success in home ownership establishing a broad and stable middle class symbolized the prosperity of free market capitalism in the city. This is so important that even the “One Country, Two Systems” (OCTS) was designed to preserve all the good and bad components of the colonial institutions of this successful capitalist system in Hong Kong. Such conservative nature of OCTS buried the ambitious developmentalist targets of the Tung administration in home ownership. The policy inertia of OCTS and path dependency brought the housing policy swinging to another extreme on neo-liberalism under the Tsang and Leung administration. Even for the latter, the government to a large extent maintained the neo-liberalist framework of his predecessors covered up by the rhetoric of developmentalism.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Hong KongHong KongChina

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