Sandwich class home purchase help urged
Martin Cheung and Janet Gu
The government was yesterday urged to help those in the sandwich class to get a home.
Liberal Party honorary chairman James Tien Pei-chun said Hong Kong could have a policy of two property markets - a luxury one for those who could afford homes and a basic one for those shut out by soaring prices.
The Federation of Trade Unions, meanwhile, called for more public rental flats aimed at the sandwich class and said the income limit for such homes should be raised.
Speaking after meeting Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Tien urged the government to provide affordable flats for permanent residents who were first-time buyers.
'There can be a market in the luxurious residential sector which is open to all, including people from the mainland and overseas, and another offering basic homes with sales restricted to Hong Kong people,' he said.
Tien also said industrial land scattered across the city could be rezoned for affordable properties.
The federation said that with rents soaring along with prices, it was necessary to take care of those 'sandwiched' - earning too much to be ineligible for public housing but too little to buy private flats.
'The income limit of HK$18,560 for a four-person family applying for public housing is too low,' chairman Ng Chau-pei said.
The Housing Society provides 1,363 sandwich class flats for which the income cap for a family of four is HK$32,000.
The union said more such flats should be built and the income cap set at HK$37,120.