The Business and Professionals Alliance (BPA) has proposed redeveloping 19 old public housing estates as part of efforts to address Hong Kong’s demand for new homes.

The pro-establishment party pointed out that the average wait for a public housing flat is now 5.4 years, a lot longer than the government’s three-year target.

The BPA said on Tuesday that officials need to think outside of the box, if they want to tackle the shortage.

It recommended that the government redevelop 19 public-housing estates across the territory that are all at least 40 years old and are not already being redeveloped.

Some 66,000 families live in the estates and the party estimated that by redeveloping the sites using a higher plot ratio, the government could provide an extra 135,000 flats.

The move would cut the current queue for public housing by about half, the BPA said.

Lawmaker Jeffrey Lam, also the party’s vice-chairman, said the government should make sure that those affected by the redevelopment scheme – many of them elderly residents – would be resettled in the newly redeveloped estates or in the same district.

He said redevelopment could be carried out without causing a lot of nuisance to the residents, and it’s something that can be done immediately.

The party also said it’s open to the idea of the government invoking the Land Resumption Ordinance to take back idle land in the New Territories for development.