Macau, China, 29 Jan – More than 6000 families are on the waiting list for public housing in Macau with skyrocketing rent and inflation taking its toll on low income earners, according to statistics from the Housing Bureau (IHM).
Despite limited land resources the Macau government has been forced to implement a major construction program to build almost 7000 new public and economic houses by 2012.
There are 5575 tenants currently in public housing, with 6224 families on the waiting list.
IHM statistics show that 55.8 per cent of people living in public housing have occupied their units for less than 10 years, 32.1 per cent for between ten and 20 years and 6.2 per cent for more than 30 years.
Acting director of IHM Tam Kwong Man said the lowest rent for a public housing unit for a family of two was MOP 20 and the highest was MOP 1500.
Tam said people applying for public housing had to meet a series of criteria and eligibility was partially determined by monthly salary and an asset test.
He said single people could not have a monthly income of more than MOP 3800 and a family of ten must earn less than MOP 11,100 a month.
“In consideration of Macau’s inflation and house rental market situation, the SAR government launched a temporary subsidy scheme for families on the public housing waiting list from 1 September to 30 November 2008,” Tam said.
“Through this scheme, the SAR government aims to financially support the families qualified to be on the public housing waiting list.”
For a household with up to two people the subsidy is MOP 750 per month and for a household with three or more people the subsidy is MOP 1100 a month.
The subsidy is means tested with a sliding scale applied to monthly salary and the number of people in each family. Single people on the public housing waiting list with an income up to MOP 4480 are eligible and families with seven or more on the waiting list must not earn over MOP 11,070.
Tam said the government had also embarked on a program to build 2753 more public housing units with construction expected to be completed in 2010.
There are 884 units being built in the second phase of the Fai Chi Kei estate, 588 in the Mong Ha estate and 1281 units in the Ilha Verde estate.
A variety of floor plans are available ranging from studio apartments to four bedroom units.
IHM is also involved in building about 4200 economical housing units.
Economical housing is constructed by local construction companies after they sign a deed of land grant with the government.
The developers use the granted land to build housing estates at low building cost and some of the newly built units are reciprocated to the government as a compensation for the land grant. The developers then sell the rest of the units in accordance with conditions and prices listed by the government.
Over the past few years the cost of renting units in Macau has more than doubled due to the economic boom, inflation and under supply.
IHM said in November 2008 that the plan was to construct 19,000 public housing units by the end of 2012, with adjustments made according to demand.