10pc deposit, 100pc happy
It is not often you see a young man of 22 walk into a residential building, choose a flat, present a down payment and walk out the proud owner of his own domestic space.
Property may not be the scene of Ernest Wong O-cheung, now 26, but the web developer made a couple of mature, savvy and timely decisions that he has no reason to regret.
In 2003, using a 90 per cent mortgage plan, he bought an apartment in Kornhill Gardens in Taikoo and became the youngest homeowner in his circle of family and friends.
The down payment of $150,000 cleaned out all his savings, but that did not matter. He was buying a home.
'I would never have been able to buy the flat if I had had to pay more than 10 per cent,' he said. 'Other people like to buy cars or go travelling. I preferred to use my money to buy a house.'
He bought his 512 sqft flat under the secondary home ownership scheme.
'A down payment of even 5 to 10 per cent is a great help,' he said. 'Many of my colleagues who are now in their late twenties can afford to buy a flat because of all the special packages banks are offering these days.'
Also, negative equity has never been a worry. 'I bought the flat just after 9/11, when prices were low. And after Sars, prices dropped even further, more than 10 per cent.'
But things are looking good for Mr Wong. The flat that fell to $1.3 million after Sars is now worth $2 million.
'Buying a flat really is an investment,' he said. 'If I can afford it, I'll buy another apartment.'