Flats at the first estate being sold under Hong Kong's "My Home Purchase Plan" are seeing an overwhelming response from potential buyers, some of whom say they may purchase a unit for their adult children.
The Hong Kong Housing Society will in 2015 offer 988 flats at the subsidised Greenview Villa in Tsing Yi, the first under the plan, to individuals with a monthly income of HK$25,000 or less, and to households with a monthly income of HK$40,000 or less. The flats are priced from HK$5,841 to HK$7,402 per sq ft in terms of saleable area - a 30 per cent market discount.
Before show flats were opened to the public at 10am yesterday, about 50 people had already lined up at the sales office in Cheung Sha Wan. Among them was a mother helping her two children find an affordable flat.
"Flats on the private property market are so expensive, [my children] can't afford them," she said. "They aren't eligible to apply for public housing either. I will help them with the down payment. But how much we will pay depends on the interest rate after two years."
Thousands of people were estimated to have visited the show flats. Oliver Law Lin-fat, senior manager of planning and development at the Housing Society, estimated that the offer would be 10 times oversubscribed.
Some prospective buyers, however, said the estate's management fees were higher than those at private properties. The fees, in terms of saleable area, are at HK$2.3 to HK$2.4 per sq ft. For example, a flat of 535 sq ft will result in fees of HK$1,284.
The society's chairman, Marco Wu Moon-hoi, said: "The rate we quoted is based on saleable area, while the common practice in the private sector is based on gross floor area. The rate, therefore, needs to be adjusted."
The estate is also the first residential property in the city to provide flat details in terms of saleable area only, and not gross floor area. A law that comes into force next year requires property developers to list flat details in terms of saleable area, not gross floor area, when marketing them.
Gross floor area includes the saleable area - the internal flat area plus balconies but minus bay windows - plus a share of the common areas and facilities.
Grace Chan, who is considering buying a flat with her boyfriend at Greenview, said: "It helps me better understand how much I will pay for each actual square foot."
People can submit applications from Friday to January 18.
Meanwhile, housing minister Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung said yesterday the Housing Authority would allow 5,000 eligible people to buy second-hand Home Ownership Scheme flats at a discount, starting in January next year.