Young couple the first to get right to buy discounted second-hand HOS flats

Couple among the first to take advantage of scheme offering discounted second-hand homes

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 June, 2013, 3:38am

Avan Tsar was lucky enough to be among 5,000 people chosen to be allowed to buy a second-hand Home Ownership Scheme flat at a discount.

But the 35-year-old was even luckier to have won the chance to buy one of 988 new flats in another subsidised housing project in Tsing Yi, the Greenview Villa.

In the end, he decided to opt for a second-hand flat because his wife is expecting a baby this month - and the new flats would be available only in 2016.

Tsar was the first one to show up at the Housing Authority's customer service centre in Lok Fu yesterday morning to register for a certificate of eligibility to buy an HOS flat. While he was happy to be chosen, he said he still had some money worries.

The authority provides a mortgage default guarantee of up to 90 per cent of the flat price for a new flat for 20 years, but since the flats are second-hand, Tsar was worried he would face a high mortgage payment.

The private assistant, who earns HK$20,000 a month, said he could only afford a down payment of just over 10 per cent at the most.

He wanted to buy a two-room flat for about HK$2 to HK$3 million.

"I am hoping to find a newer flat, maybe one built in about 2000 in the New Territories," he said.

Tsar, his wife and four other people now lived in a cramped 500 sq ft Ma On Shan flat owned by a relative.

Tsar is a beneficiary of an interim housing measure put forward by the government last year to make more cheap flats available before new ones are completed starting in 2016. The scheme is open to families earning no more than HK$40,000 a month.

About 66,000 people competed for the 5,000 entitlements to buy a discounted flat. Outside the centre, real estate agents were luring people like Tsar to buy HOS flats on Hong Kong Island east, at prices ranging from HK$2.9 million to HK$4.9 million.

Lawrance Wong Dun-king, president of Many Wells Property Agent, which focuses on flats in the northwestern New Territories, said owners of HOS flats, expecting to be approached by the lucky applicants, had raised prices. Prices of flats in Tin Shui Wai had risen 4 to 6 per cent in the past two months, he said.