CIVIL servants will be allowed to buy homes in China and Macau with money borrowed cheaply from the Government, under plans aimed at improving morale. The aim is to address government employees' concerns about being unable to enter the territory's highly-priced property market. Under the plans, civil servants would be able to rent out the property while the loan was being repaid. The loan would be made from the civil service housing loan scheme, said Civil Service Branch deputy secretary, Mike Stone. It would only apply to those with 10 years' service and within 10 years of retirement. However, the branch is worried about uncertainty related to property transactions on the mainland, particularly lack of uniformity in conveyancing and land regulations. They will insist on proper documentation and only approve funds for completed projects. It is understood the Consumer Council has been approached for advice and major banks have supplied information. Chinese authorities have not been officially consulted. 'This scheme has been available for some time, but not for junior staff and not for China or Macau,' Mr Stone said. 'One of our main concerns, obviously, is that we want to make sure our staff don't get ripped off, so the scheme will be developed so staff are made fully aware of the situation.' Chinese Civil Servants Association president, Peter Wong Hyo, said the plan was a 'small step forward'. Mr Wong said some junior officers were commuting to work from flats bought in Shenzhen under the existing schemes, which demanded that civil servants lived in the properties they bought. 'This has been our position for many years but some of our officers still do not have any opportunity to buy any flats,' said Mr Wong, who represented about 100,000 government workers. 'We are not satisfied because our junior and middle-ranking officers still face the high costs in the territory.' Property experts say while it would cost around $6 million to buy a flat of 1,000 sq feet in Mid-Levels today, a similar-sized apartment could be bought in Macau for just $1 million or in Shenzhen for around $700,000. The plan was first put to the Government by low-ranking staff, but was formally argued at the last meeting of the Police Force Council in July. This body comprises senior police, government officials and four force staff associations.