WHO is helping the sandwich class more: Mr Li Ka-shing, the chairman of Cheung Kong, who maintains in this newspaper today he intends to continue offering home buyers 85 per cent finance deals on the properties he is selling, or Financial Secretary MrHamish Macleod, who is holding banks to a mortgage ceiling of 70 per cent? Mr Li maintains he is helping most. Almost all the buyers of his latest development in Tin Shui Wai were end users, he said, and had he not offered generous finance terms, many would have had to wait two to three years to buy homes of their own.
''If I don't do 85 per cent finance, more than 800 people could not afford to buy. And this time, our selling price is 13 per cent lower compared to the last sales. Lower prices and a higher percentage mortgage. That is truly helping the people who need a place to live.'' Mr Macleod, on the other hand, maintains his policy has brought about an end to spiralling prices and speculation. Clearly it has, but it is now restricting people's choice.
His officials claim any attempt to find a way to offer higher mortgages to first time buyers is too difficult to police. But surely it is better that many receive help and a few slip through the net than that everybody suffers the restriction of not being able to afford a first home.