New town development and housing affordability : A case study in Hong Kong

Yaoxuan HUANG*, Victor Jing LI, Daikun WANG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


New towns and housing affordability are the hot topics among city planners, urban researchers, policymakers, and economists in recent years. Yet, whether the existing new town development could mitigate the problem of housing affordability for low-income people is understudied. To fill this important knowledge blank and research gap, this study selects Hong Kong to conduct the empirical analysis. Through examining the data from multiple sources such as Census statistics from the Hong Kong government, market-rate housing transaction records, and private housing transactions from the property agents’ website, we found that new town development mitigates the problems of housing affordability in Hong Kong in general but not for low-income tenants in particular. The low-income people in new towns pay more for living in unsubsidized affordable housing/subdivided units as their last shelters. As more new towns will be developed in the upcoming years, the results also found that the announcement of new development areas increases the housing rent rate by 9.4% in the new development areas. We suggest that the priority of the newly built subsidized housing in the new development areas should be allocated to the local/indigenous low-income people; otherwise, the housing affordability of low-income people may repeat the same pattern associated with the past new towns’ development.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science
Early online date20 Aug 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the Hong Kong Public Policy Research Grant (2020.A4.071.20D), CUHK Direct Grant for Research (Ref. 4052278).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.


  • New Town
  • housing affordability
  • rent-to-income ratio
  • housing rent
  • Hong Kong


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