Choice of subsidy schemes for tenants
The decision yesterday to expand the Home Starter Loan Scheme to public housing tenants allows them to benefit from at least four subsidy schemes.
For instance, a six-member family living in a 480-square-foot flat in the Housing Authority's Yiu Tung Estate, Shau Kei Wan, pays $2,000 a month rent - a discount of about 70 per cent on current market rents.
Under the revised loan scheme, two of the family's non-principal tenants - say, the two sons - could combine to apply for a $600,000 loan to buy a flat, as could the two daughters.
Neither group can earn a monthly income exceeding $70,000.
The couple remains entitled to three housing schemes offered by the Housing Authority: the Home Ownership Scheme, the Home Purchase Loan Scheme and the Tenant Purchase Scheme.
The first two require the couple to give up its public housing flat.
The couple can apply to buy a Home Ownership Scheme flat, usually at half the market price regardless of income and assets.
At present, 70 per cent of the scheme's flats are allocated to public housing tenants and 30 per cent for tenants in the private sector.
If they opt for the Home Purchase Loan Scheme, they can obtain an interest-free loan of up to $800,000 to be repaid over 13 years to buy a flat in the private market.
For the Tenant Purchase Scheme, launched in January this year, a couple can buy its present flat for as low as 12 per cent of the market price.
But the couple would have to wait until the estate goes on the market - only 25,000 flats are released for sale each year.