28,000 new homes | 30 doubts for 2019

A year ago the Chief Executive promised that Macau would again have a public housing tender in 2019.

Since 2014 a public economic housing contest for the middle class has not been launched – at that time more than 42,000 people applied for the purchase of the 1,900 units made available by the government. 

In recent years, the government has been limited to providing housing in so-called social housing complexes for people with economic needs. 

Faced with soaring house prices, and the difficulty many residents have buying or renting a home, Macau’s political leaders have announced that 28,000 homes will be built (economic housing) in Zone A on the new landfills. A Housing Bureau report reveals that the city has a shortage of 21,000 public housing units, local demand considered. 

The launch of the tender during the next year will depend upon the pace of landfill work (the plan is to complete the project in four phases, with a study for an urban plan for the first 7,000 units currently under development) but also according to what the government considers a priority: the revision of the economic housing regime. The affordable housing act that was passed at the Legislative Assembly last month will replace the current balloting system with one based on points. One of the new proposals is to increase the age limit for applications to the housing estates to those aged 25-years-old and above, and who has to have lived in Macau over seven years. 

Only later will one know if there will be a mega-tender for the 28,000 units or if the idea is to go on bidding as housing becomes ready. 

Another question to clarify later is how this or (most likely) the next Chief Executive will use the land recovered by the government, under the current Land Law, to construct housing 

What happens to the new landfills? 

The biggest plan ever conceived in Macau to build landfills has suddenly come off the agenda, with the issue no longer addressed by either rulers or media. 

Zone A, the largest of the five designed, has been ready since the end of last year but the space has not been developed as expected. Still, a few months ago the artificial island which serves as the destination for the HZMB bridge was deserted and today it is in Zone A that nothing happens. 

Chief Executive told reporters after his last annual policy address that housing in Zone A, with 28,000 houses planned for, has passed the planning phase. 

The tender process for construction in Zone A has also begun, according the Government. 

The public housing units in Zone A are meant to accommodate some 32,000 housing units, namely 28,000 public housing units and 4,000 private, with a capacity of 96,000 people. 

In the remaining four zones, either they are ready . . . or they are far behind (C and D). 

In the first case (E and B), it is expected that space will be used. In the second case (C and D) explanations are not forthcoming from policymakers – why have the works not even begun? Macau Business has sought answers from the Land, Public Works and Transportation Bureau without success . . .