On the eve of the launching of a new home loan scheme yesterday, officials admitted they had no idea how applications should be handled. The Home Starter Loan Scheme, administered by the Housing Society, will open for applications today. Rules require forms to be sent by mail and each will be assigned a number to decide the order of interviews. The society said forms would be read on a first-come-first-served basis and screening would stop once the 6,000 quota for the first year was filled. But staff admitted they were unsure how the principle could apply when forms were sent in by mail. 'It is almost certain forms will arrive in piles. The postmen won't deliver them in the priority they were put in the post box. And our office assistants won't do that either,' one officer said. The society's assistant director (estate management) Julia Wong Ng Wenh-ky maintained her staff would try to be as fair as possible. A society spokesman said a computer would be used to help decide the order of interviews, but it had not yet decided what to do if applications outnumbered the quota. Mrs Wong said the society would make an announcement once it received the 5,000th form and might fix an application deadline then. Housing affairs critic Ho Hei-wah asked: 'How can you run a scheme without knowing what to do?' Families earning less than $70,000 a month and owning assets worth less than $1.2 million can apply from today. They can repay a maximum $600,000 loan in 120 instalments from the fourth year. The first batch of successful applicants can expect to get the money to purchase flats in June. The scheme was announced by Tung Chee-hwa last October as part of his pledge to have 70 per cent of families owning their own homes by the year 2007. Independent property consultant Tony Chan Tung-ngok said it might be the right time to purchase flats because prices had stablised after dropping by 30 per cent since last October. Secretary for Housing Dominic Wong Shing-wah said the Government would review the income limit after a year but said it was unlikely that the loan size would be expanded.