Buyers keen on subsidised flat scheme

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 July, 2013, 4:22am

The new scheme giving middle-income earners the chance to buy a subsidised flat in the secondary market without having to pay a land premium received an overwhelming response, according to Housing Authority figures.

Only three of the 2,500 eligible applicants had given up the opportunity to buy a property by yesterday's deadline for the first batch.

Of the 2,497 who wanted to buy a subsidised flat, 428 entered into the provisional purchase agreement and 254 completed their transactions.

Under the scheme, which will benefit 5,000 potential flat buyers in two batches, applicants who are selected in a lucky draw must apply for a Certificate of Eligibility to Purchase to prove they are suitable. After finding a subsidised flat they want to buy in the secondary market and entering into the provisional agreement for sale and purchase, the certificate holders then have to apply for a Letter of Nomination to complete the transaction.

Figures released by the Housing Authority and Housing Society showed a total of 428 buyers had already applied for the letter and 254 letters had been issued.

Of the 428 who entered into the provisional sale agreement, 375 are family applicants and 53 are single. Overall, 2,228 are family applicants.

An authority spokesman said the certificate was valid for six months and holders could apply for a one-off renewal for another six months before its expiry.

"Whether the certificate holders can successfully purchase a flat depends on a lot of factors, including whether there are flats available for sale in their desired locations," he said.

The scheme, one of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's main election platforms, evolved from the HOS secondary market scheme, which was introduced in 1997 to allow owners to sell their flats without having to pay a land premium to the government first. It used to be offered only to public tenants.

Under the revised scheme that began this year, middle-income homebuyers who are renting private flats are also allowed to participate.

The second-batch of 2,500 applicants will be invited to apply for a certificate by late December.