Rush for applications as subsidised flats go on sale after 4-year freeze

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 January, 2007, 12:00am

Thousands of people flocked to inspect show flats yesterday as 3,632 subsidised units aimed at low-income families returned to the market following a four-year suspension of sales.

Applications for the Housing Authority's Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) and the Housing Society's flats-for-sale scheme, which both opened yesterday, will close on January 15.

By the end of the day, 7,910 people had visited four show flats at the four developments where units are on sale. The authority's consumer services centre at Lok Fu said it had distributed 1,000 application forms to visitors within the first hour.

'As the HOS scheme was suspended for four years, we feel the market has accumulated some buying potential. The overwhelming reaction this morning is within our expectations,' assistant housing director Albert Lee Kwok-wing said.

The authority is offering 3,056 HOS flats for sale in three residential projects - Kingsford Terrace in Wong Tai Sin, Yu Chui Court in Sha Tin and Tin Fu Court in Tin Shui Wai, Yuen Long.

Another 576 units are from the Housing Society's Kingston Terrace in Tuen Mun.

The flats are among about 16,000 left unsold when the government suspended the HOS programme following complaints from developers during the housing market downturn in 2002 that cheap properties were flooding the market.

Selling prices of the units range from HK$563,900 to HK$1.89 million. The prices are 30 per cent off the market value, allowing lower income families to buy their own homes.

Only families living in public housing estates or those with monthly incomes below HK$22,000 are eligible to apply for the units. Priority will be given to families that are affected by authority-initiated clearance programmes in Wong Chuk Hang, Lower Ngau Tau Kok and So Uk, as well as families with elderly members.

The quotas are to be split 80:20 between 'green form' public housing applicants and 'white form' applicants who are not eligible for public housing but cannot afford private flats.