Extra home loans were announced to help 115,000 lower and middle income families buy flats in the private sector this year. The suspension of land sales will mean the withdrawal of six pieces of land earmarked for the Sandwich Class Housing Scheme, nudging 9,000 families with a monthly income of between $33,000 and $60,000 towards private property projects. Other measures include an extra $3.6 billion for the Housing Society to allow for a further 6,000 first-time property buyers whose income does not exceed $70,000. The Government also will demand the Housing Authority expand the Home Purchase Loan Scheme's quota from 4,500 to 10,000 each year. The move will give the self-financed housing body an extra $2.93 billion bill. The controversial 85,000 flat production target each year - condemned by many as the origin of the problem - will remain unchanged. The measures angered housing activists, who said the Government was governed by private developers who just wanted to make money. 'I can't see the logic in freezing land sales. Are they going to keep it suspended if property prices are still sliding after nine months?' said Housing Authority member Lee Wing-tat, the Democratic Party's housing policy spokesman. 'The Government has obviously bowed to pressure from private developers who proposed it just three weeks ago.' Veteran housing activist Ho Hei-wah, director of the Society for Community Organisation, said the move was laughable when the Government had been pledging a steady land supply. 'The Government has turned a blind eye to those who are homeless and living in inhumane conditions, but takes such a drastic move to help those already investing money in properties. It's ridiculous,' Mr Ho said. But property agencies generally welcomed the move. 'It's apparent the Government is trying to reduce land supply on one hand, and boost demand on the other by expanding the home loans,' said Michael Choi Ngai-min, a member of the Housing Authority's Home Ownership Committee and managing director of Hong Kong Property. Mr Choi estimated the measures would increase deals more than 20 per cent within two months. But he warned the measures were aimed only at stabilising the market and would be unlikely to help boost prices. President of the Society of Hong Kong Real Estate Agents Tony Chan Tung-ngok urged the Government to fill the missing link between expanded home loans and banks' reluctance to arrange mortgages.