A limited number of HOS flats will not hurt property tycoons

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 March, 2010, 12:00am

I hope the relevant government officials read the letter by Leung Ka-wai ('Genuine need for HOS scheme', March 22).

Mr Leung is one of those young people from what has been called of late the post-1980s generation.

He has graduated from university and repaid the government loan for his tuition fees. This would suggest he does not come from a wealthy family. He has worked for some years, my guess is for a minimum of five years.

I would assume he has some savings but, given the present level of property prices, it will be impossible for him and his future wife to find the money they need to buy their own 500 sq ft flat in a location that would enable a reasonable commute to his office.

His request is simple: that the government re-start the Home Ownership Scheme (HOS).

He has sensibly suggested changing some of the rules regarding HOS to make it fairer.

This would also prevent people occupying HOS flats from becoming rich property speculators prematurely.

The government, of course, is caught in a quandary. Many condemn its high-land-price policy.

However, if the administration does not hold onto this policy, since our available land is limited, we could expect to see a minimum tax rate of 25 per cent, which could lead to serious unrest in our society.

If it does restart the HOS, developers and property owners will raise objections. We live in a selfish, Gordon Gekko 'greed is good' society.

However, if the government does not do anything about hard-working, sincere, reasonable young people who face the same housing dilemma as Mr Leung, we can look forward to even more drastic and unreasonable protests from the post-1980s generation.

Surely building 5,000 to 10,000 500 sq ft flats a year for people like Mr Leung will not hurt the government's coffers that much.

It will not damage our billionaire developers' already healthy bank accounts. And it will certainly not lead to a substantial reduction in today's property prices. They are at ridiculous levels and many property owners face the prospect of negative equity.

Alex Woo, Tsim Sha Tsui