Young people have emerged as the keenest home hunters, with almost two-thirds of applications for two government-subsidised housing schemes being made by the young and single.
Applications closed yesterday for the Greenview Villa project by the Housing Society and the revised home ownership scheme by the Housing Authority.
Greenview Villa attracted almost 45,000 applicants for its 988 flats, while the HOS drew 30,200 applications for its 5,000 units.
Roughly 10 per cent of flats in both projects will be sold to single applicants, under the government's plan. The Housing Authority said 63 per cent of forms had come from single applicants, while the Housing Society reported it at 65 per cent. The unexpected youth demand has sparked concerns about government housing policy.
Wong Kwun, a member of the government's long-term housing strategy steering committee, said: "It shows the housing need of young people is big. The government should devise a suitable policy to cater for them."
But Dr Chung Kim-wah, an assistant professor of Polytechnic University's department of applied social sciences, warned against change, saying: "It might encourage young people living with their parents to use a public subsidy to buy flats."
The government has viewed the housing needs of single or young people, mostly living with their parents, as a lower priority.
Housing Society chairman Marco Wu Moon-hoi said the trend of young applicants had not gone unnoticed. "We shall do further analysis and report to the government, as this may have some implications on the public housing resources," Wu said.
A university student, who applied to the HOS yesterday, said: "I know the chance is slim. It will be like winning the Mark Six. It is impossible for me to afford private units. Subsidised housing is my only hope."
Professor Eddie Hui Chi-man, of Polytechnic University's department of building and real estate, said: "This shows many people cannot afford private flats and so have to flock to buy discounted units, despite some resale restrictions."
The two schemes are open to households with a monthly income not exceeding HK$40,000 a month. Ballots will be held to draw successful applicants. The results for Greenview Villa will be announced next month.