Hong Kong chief executive's pledge on Wednesday to resolve the territory's housing affordability crisis may seem long on promise, but falls short on practical solutions, analysts told CNBC.
Leung Chun-ying spent the bulk of his two-hour annual policy speech focusing on the real-estate market, calling housing "the most critical of all livelihood issues in Hong Kong." Among measures announced were more opportunities for lower-to-middle income citizens to become homeowners and for public rental housing residents to buy flats built by the Housing Authority.
The city's property prices have skyrocketed over 100 percent in the past six years and rank among the world's most expensive, according to Reuters data, fueled by an environment of low interest rates, surging demand from mainland buyers and a shortage of developable land.
This has become a main sticking point among the city's residents, especially the low-to-middle income households who are unable to buy homes. Home prices climbed 12 percent in the first 11 months of 2014, government data revealed last week, hitting fresh record highs in November.
While public rental housing units are forecast to hit 77,100 in the next five years, experts say the most pressing issue is where exactly the land will come from.
"Despite Leung's efforts, the government has been unable to enhance short-term land supply so as to depress prices," said Joseph Cheng, professor at the City University of Hong Kong.
"People don't really expect any easing of the situation in the next two to three years. The chief executive now talks of reclamation, and we all understand that between talk and actual delivery of flats, it may be at least 8-10 years," he added, referring to plans to develop new towns outside of city areas.
Discussions last year to open up country parks, which make up around 41 percent of total land, to development sparked backlash from environmentalists concerned about bio-diversity. On Wednesday, Leung said he was taking into consideration factors like traffic, environment and air ventilation in the planning process and warned that society as a whole must make hard choices.