A record number of home loan applications has been received by the Housing Department since 64,000 application forms were distributed after the expanded Home Purchase Loan Scheme was opened last Wednesday. More than 2,500 anxious buyers have returned their applications - already more than the 1,831 loans approved last year. Under the expanded scheme, successful public housing applicants can receive $800,000 or a monthly subsidy of $5,100 repayable over four years. People renting flats in private properties can get $500,000 or a monthly subsidy of $3,400. The scheme wants 10,000 private homes bought in an attempt to halt sliding prices. The Housing Department has received more than 300 applications to rent 160 shops left vacant in the estates' shopping centres. Sheung Tak Estate Shopping Centre in Tseung Kwan O, Wong Tai Sin Estate Shopping Centre and Lok Fu Estate Shopping Centre are the prospective business operators' favourites.