Hong Kong to take back part of biggest golf course for homes

The Hong Kong Golf Club at Fanling is home to three 18-hole courses and practice facilities.
The Hong Kong Golf Club at Fanling is home to three 18-hole courses and practice facilities.PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - Hong Kong is set to take over part of an iconic golf course to build homes as the city grapples with a housing shortage.

The Executive Council, the government's Cabinet, endorsed all the proposals suggested by a government-appointed panel to tackle the city's residential housing crisis, the South China Morning Post reported on Wednesday (Feb 20), citing people it didn't identify.

Among the most high-profile: reclaiming 32 hectares of the Hong Kong Golf Club's venerable site in Fanling.

Other options that were endorsed included developing private agricultural land, building on deserted rural plots and recreational sites, utilising underground space, and reclaiming land from the sea.

Hong Kong, the world's least affordable housing market, has long been plagued by land issues, with an estimated current residential shortfall of more than 1,200 hectares. The problem is particularly acute now because new land supply is at an eight-year low, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.

The Hong Kong Golf Club at Fanling is home to three 18-hole courses and practice facilities. The decision to take back some of its 172 hectares strikes a balance between boosting housing supply and the need to continue hosting international golf tournaments, the newspaper said.

It added that the site has been leased to the Hong Kong Golf Club by the government for about HK$2.4 million (S$413,000) a year.