Flats no cheaper despite income limit drop

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 February, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 February, 2001, 12:00am

The price of Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) flats will not be lowered despite an expected tightening of the income limit for applicants, Housing Authority officials said yesterday.

The 6,339 flats launched in the latest batch attracted 25,659 applicants - the lowest number in 16 years.

'We're satisfied with the response as the number of applications is similar to previous launches,' said Cheng Yao-kong, assistant director of application and home ownership, who described the demand as 'steady over the years'. The number of applications in May last year was 28,000. In July 1999 it was 31,000.

Home Ownership Committee member Wong Kwun said the number of applicants should not be a consideration in determining future supply. 'Instead, as long as home-ownership housing is still popular and in demand, the Home Ownership Scheme policy should continue,' said Mr Wong.

Mr Cheng said as the present price levels were reasonable and affordable, there would be no price cut for the next phase, probably in April or May.

Mr Wong predicted the response to the next phase would remain at a similar level, saying the possible reduction of maximum family income level under which applicants could apply from $31,000 a month to $25,000 'would affect only a small number of people'. The authority will review the upper limits tomorrow.

It also found 85 per cent of flats in the last phase, with an average price of $1.1 million, were affordable for those with a monthly income of $25,000.

The Government has been under pressure from property developers to cut HOS flat supply. It was announced last month the flats would be capped at 20,000 this year, 7,000 down on the target set in November.