Many Hongkongers may be surprised to read about homes on sale for HK$1.2 million, in a city where HK$2 million has long seemed like the bottom price.
Yet that will be about the starting price when more than 800 subsidised flats are offered next month, mostly in Tin Shui Wai, according to a source close to the offer. The prices will range up to HK$3 million for subsidised flats elsewhere in the city.
The prices for these Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) flats will be at a 30 per cent discount to market values set in the September-December period last year, the source said.
Most of the 832 HOS flats to be offered are in Tin Chung Court, Tin Shui Wai. About 640 of them, in Block K and L, are being sold for the first time, and about 180 are second-hand. The saleable areas are between 506 and 646 sq ft. The Tin Shui Wai prices will range up to HK$2 million.
Tin Chung Court was one of the estates involved in a short-piling scandal in 1999 arising from uneven ground settlement. But sources say the groundwork of the two blocks has been fortified and they are safe.
The most expensive flat will be a 540 sq ft home in Broadview Court, Aberdeen, with a price tag of more than HK$3 million.
To be eligible, applicants must have a family income of no more than HK$40,000 and assets of no more than HK$830,000.
Sixty per cent of the applications will be reserved for green-form applicants – those already living in public housing. The rest will go to white-form applicants who are prospective buyers living in private flats who do not receive a housing subsidy.
Applications will be accepted from the end of next month. The winners' names will be drawn in mid-May and homebuyers will choose their flats the next month.
Wong Kwun, chairman of the Federation of Public Housing Estates, thinks the prices are somewhat high for HOS flats in the district and recommends they be dropped further.
"The discount could be raised or the market values could be set lower," he said. He believed the offer would attract a lot of white-form applicants and could be 10 times oversubscribed.
The HOS flats in Tin Chung Court were originally scheduled for sale in 2010 but were held back because of a row over management fees between the government and the owners' committee of the estate.
The Housing Authority said earlier that it would bear the litigation fees of the homebuyers of Tin Chung Court in relation to the management fee dispute.