Housing body weighs options
The Housing Society is exploring new sources of income in the wake of the Government's 1998 decision to suspend its sandwich-class flats scheme.
One society member said an option being considered was to compete with private companies in bidding for management of private residential and commercial buildings. Another option is to form a partnership with the Urban Renewal Authority to provide homes for those forced out by urban redevelopment.
In his 1998 Policy Address, Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa announced the Sandwich-Class Housing Scheme - a subsidised loan scheme to help middle-income families buy their own homes - was to be suspended indefinitely due to a slump in the property market.
The Housing Society now manages 3,400 private flats and more than 50,000 subsidised flats, which generated about 10 per cent of its income last year.
'The society has enough experience in managing its own properties. It may be more appropriate to manage middle-class flats because we may not have the experience to look after luxury properties,' the member said.
'Property management is now turning into a new profession in Hong Kong, which is more than simply hiring security guards. The industry is becoming mature and we can see there is a lot of room for development.'
The society is an independent, non-profit-making body, which provides housing for low-income and middle-class families in partnership with the Government. It raises money through property sales, commercial leasing and borrowing from the financial sector.
The organisation has built more than 57,000 flats - 5,600 private flats and more than 50,000 subsidised flats, including more than 10,000 sandwich-class housing scheme units.
The society has also been restructured according to proposals by a consultant hired last year. Instead of having five sub-committees, a centralised supervisory board and an executive committee will oversee operations.
The new 25-member board and the 12-member committee are headed by chairman Chung Shui-ming.