The weakness of the property market has re-ignited calls for the Government to rethink its much-criticised housing policy as the demand for home ownership appears to be waning. Property analysts said the new schemes and initiatives introduced by the Government in the past year, ranging from the sale of public housing flats to the pledge to increase home ownership, had created confusion. With the dramatic change in market conditions and economic health, they urged a review of measures such as the sandwich-class housing scheme. Hong Kong Property Services (Agency) managing director Michael Choi Ngai-min said there was no need to keep the scheme because average home prices had fallen to a more affordable level. 'The historical mission for the sandwich-class housing scheme is finished and it should go,' he said. Flat prices in urban areas were about $4,000 per square foot and those in the New Territories $2,000 to $3,000 per sq ft. 'The so-called sandwich class can go to buy their homes in the private market, especially with the availability of government loans for first-time buyers,' he said. Indosuez W.I.Carr Securities analyst Douglas Sung agreed that the Government should study the scheme's future as those households mostly could afford to buy private units. He said the Government's sale of public housing flats to tenants at such low prices under the Tenants Purchase Scheme (TPS) also should be reviewed. As the economy weakened, the urge to own a home had decreased, he said. S K Pang Surveyors & Co managing director Pang Shiu-kee said the TPS conflicted with the Home Ownership Scheme (HOS). The two flat-sale schemes were in competition. The target buyers were identical and, more importantly, the flats for sale were the same in design and quality. 'If the TPS is not cancelled, the HOS market will continue to be dampened,' he said. HOS flats were priced much higher than TPS flats, although they were of similar quality. Mr Pang said the Government should do away with some 'destructive' measures introduced since last year. The property market would continue to be sluggish if the housing policy was maintained. Critics said the Government's annual production target of 85,000 flats would have to be scaled back in the face of the recession. They said the target had been abandoned unofficially after the Government admitted the supply of 35,000 private-sector flats a year would depend on developers and its suspension of land sales until the end of next March. Mr Choi supported suggestions that the Government slow down the development of HOS flats in the face of a possible decline in demand, especially from public housing tenants. Tenants had more options available now, including purchase of existing flats or borrowing interest-free government loans to buy privately. A surveyor said: 'The Government should respond promptly by rethinking its housing measures as the market conditions have changed drastically since the second half of last year. 'Then the Government was doing everything it could to suppress property prices, but now it is working hard to rescue the market.'