Resale prices of HOS flats hit post-1997 high

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 April, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 April, 2010, 12:00am

Resale values of flats built under the Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) hit a post-1997 high last quarter as buyers priced out of the private sector turned to the subsidised housing market.

Sales for the quarter amounted to HK$4.35 billion, which represented an increase of 16.6 per cent from the fourth quarter of last year, according to data compiled by property agency Midland Realty.

'This was the highest value since the third quarter of 1997 when sales hit HK$5.19 billion,' said Buggle Lau Ka-fai, the chief analyst at Midland.

Centaline Property Agency reported a slightly smaller total sales for the quarter of HK$4.07 billion - also a post-1997 high.

Data on sales volume showed that as private housing prices in the secondary market also surged to post-97 highs, a growing number of buyers turned to the lower-priced units, agents said.

Midland reported total HOS first quarter sales volume jumped 12.5 per cent from the previous quarter to 2,754 deals - more than double the 1,293 deals done in the first quarter of 2009.

Sales activity was also helped by the government's plan to provide incentives to revitalise the turnover of HOS units in the secondary market in a bid to help middle-income earners buy flats as private sector home prices surged.

The Housing Authority said in February that it was considering waiving the land premium or allowing it to be paid in instalments when HOS flat owners sold their properties in the secondary market. The government is expected to hold further discussion on the topic next month. No decision has been made so far.

The most popular HOS estate, judging from the number of deals done in the quarter, remains Siu Hong Court in Tuen Mun, where 103 units changed hands. The next most sought-after locations were Richland Gardens in Kowloon Bay and Sui Wo Court in Sha Tin, according to Midland Realty.

The top price fetched in the HOS market during the quarter was for a flat in Tung Yuk Court in Shau Kei Wan, which sold for HK$4.89 million, according to Centaline.

The agency expects sales activity in the HOS market to slow once the government releases in June the remaining unsold 4,000 flats built under the shelved subsidised housing scheme.

Nearly 1,200 of the flats are in Tin Shui Wai, while another 1,110 are in Yau Tong and 539 in Ma On Shan. The rest are scattered in different locations in Hong Kong.

Four in five of the last batch of flats, built before the Home Ownership Scheme was halted eight years ago, will be reserved for public housing tenants.



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