Promise of 40pc discount on new flats fails to impress Hong Kong public housing tenants

While one in four express interest in a subsidised home, more than a third say they will not buy

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 July, 2016, 8:02am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 July, 2016, 8:01am

One in four public housing tenants expressed interest in buying a subsidised home under a government plan to offer 857 flats for sale in September, a survey shows.

The flats in San Po Kong, east Kowloon, form the first project under the Green Form Subsidised Home Ownership Pilot Scheme.

San Po Kong site set to yield 800 cheap flats for sale to public housing tenants

The scheme, open only to public housing tenants, will offer deeper discounts than the existing Home Ownership Scheme – they will be sold at 40 per cent below market rates rather than 30 per cent.

The survey, conducted in May and June by the Federation of Public Housing Estates, found 24 per cent of the 1,080 respondents were interested in buying a flat, while 36.3 per cent said they would not buy.

Among the 33 respondents whose monthly family incomes exceeded the maximum set for public housing, 27 said they were interested in buying.

The major reasons cited by those who were not interested included the fear of losing their current public housing flats, their lack of economic power and dislike of the San Po Kong location, a former industrial site.

The survey also found the larger the families, the more interested in the scheme they were.

Federation executive director Anthony Chiu Kwok-wai said the findings showed the Housing Authority should increase the supply of bigger flats with two or three rooms to attract families wishing to improve their living standards.

The survey found that 71 per cent of respondents hoped prices could range from HK$1.5 million to HK$2.5 million.

But over 60 per cent of tenants said they never heard of the scheme, prompting the federation to call on the government to enhance its promotion.