The government's "my home purchase plan" will be the first residential property development in the city to provide flat details in terms of saleable area only, and not gross floor area.
The 988 flats at the subsidised Greenview Villa project in Tsing Yi, the first under the scheme, will be priced from HK$5,841 to HK$7,402 per sq ft in terms of saleable area, which is a 30 per cent discount off the market price. The government hopes first-time home buyers will be the main purchasers. They must have a household income of less than HK$40,000 a month.
Application forms, price lists and sales brochures are available online and at the offices of the Hong Kong Housing Society and the Housing Authority from today. The sales office in Cheung Sha Wan with two replica flats also opens today.
"We guess the offer will be 10 times oversubscribed," said Oliver Law Lin-fat, senior manager of planning and development at the Housing Society. "We use saleable area because we want to follow the government's new law. We haven't offered information about gross floor area … but the efficiency rate of the flats should be over 80 per cent."
The efficiency rate refers to the amount of useable space in a flat. 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.
In June, the Legislative Council passed a law requiring developers to list details in terms of saleable area, not gross floor area, when selling new flats, after protests against such marketing. The law comes into force in 2013.
Assuming that the Greenview Villa flats have an efficiency rate of 80 per cent, it means they are priced between HK$4,672.8 and HK$5,921.6 per sq ft in terms of gross floor area.
"Given that new flats are priced from HK$7,000 to HK$8,000 per sq ft in terms of gross floor area, this project should be able attract a lot of applicants," Willy Liu Wai-keung, chief executive of Ricacorp Properties, said. But he added that the public was not yet used to prices in terms of saleable area.
Laura Cheng, who is considering helping her daughter buy a flat at Greenview Villa, said since the project was offered at discounted prices it did not matter if she could only refer to information with saleable area.
The 152 one-bedroom units are priced from HK$2.46 million to HK$3.01 million, while the 760 two-bedroom flats have price tags from HK$3.1 million. The three-bedroom flats are priced at up to HK$5.15 million.