Buyers in new development not so keen to rent flats for elderly relatives
Stuart Lau and Fanny W. Y. Fung
Only about one in 10 of the prospective purchasers of flats in a new Shau Kei Wan estate has been attracted by a new concept under which they can rent a flat in the same block for their elderly relatives.
Of 272 applicants wanting to buy the 212 apartments for sale in the Housing Society's Harmony Place project, just 31 said they would also rent one of the flats for elderly family members - even though those who do so will be given priority to buy.
But society chief executive Wong Kit-loong said he was confident the 60 rental flats would be taken before it was time to occupy them in a year.
"This is a new concept to live together with one's old parents," Wong said.
"Given that the apartments will not be ready for occupation for over a year, the fact that there are 31 applicants who have pledged to rent a flat is, I think, very good."
Wong was speaking yesterday after lots were drawn for priority to buy the flats, contracts for which will be settled on Saturday.
The remaining apartments for the elderly will still be open to buyers after the contracts are completed.
"Sixty flats are not a lot. I'm confident they will all be rented out before they are ready to be lived in," Wong said.
If not, they could be offered for rent to elderly people in Shau Kei Wan and elsewhere.
Most of the applicants were families, with the majority aged between 30 and 50.
Wong said he was optimistic that all the flats would be sold on Saturday - despite the recent sale of several other properties in the territory.
City University real estate expert Lawrence Poon Wing-cheung said he saw the market response as satisfactory.
But he said even if young buyers were willing to take care of their ageing parents, there were still two reasons for some of them not to rent a flat in the estate.
First, they might choose to live with their parents in a flat they bought instead. Second, their siblings might already be taking care of their parents.
He believed the demand for estates targeting middle-income families with younger and older generations was still high.
It would be worthwhile for the Housing Society to launch other estates with this concept in the future, but it might need to adjust the ratio between flats for sale and for lease by more trials.
Housing Society assistant general manager Daniel Mak Yiu-man said the society would consider launching projects in the future, depending on availability of land and conditions.