Starting from Wednesday (25 October), each newborn will receive a one-off cash bonus of HK$20,000 (USD 2,557) from the Hong Kong government as long as one of the parents is a permanent resident.
In his second Policy Address, Chief Executive John Lee unveiled a string of monetary incentives in a bid to slow the declining birth rate. The city’s fertility rate has plummeted to a new low of 0.9 births per woman, according to a survey released in August.
The cash handout measure will last for three years before further review, Lee added.
His administration also introduced the rise of the tax reduction ceiling related to housing. Starting in 2024, the deduction ceiling for home loan interest or domestic rent will be raised from HK$10,000 to HK$12,000 for taxpayers who live with their first child born today or after, until the child reaches 18.
Families with newborns may have the priority for flat selection and enjoy a higher chance of successfully purchasing subsidised flats, which are now being randomly allocated to applicants.
Starting from next year, flats under the Home Ownership Scheme will be partially reserved for eligible families for balloting and priority flat selection. Applicants with babies born today or after can apply for the scheme until their child is three years old.
Lee added that one-tenth of the flats for sale under the Home Ownership Scheme and Green Home Ownership Scheme will also be reserved for families with newborns.
New parents may also enjoy a faster allocation of public housing. The average waiting time for public housing is 5.3 years, but the new parents will have their waiting time reduced by a year. The new measure will come into effect in April 2024.