PHOTOGRAPHER Sam Chan Kwok-leung is a step closer to fulfilling his 14-year-old dream of owning a flat with yesterday's approval of the sandwich class loan scheme. Mr Chan, 43, lives with his wife, Maggie, and 13-year-old son, Euen, in Tai Hang where he pays about $6,000 a month for a 550-square-foot two-bedroom unit. The Chan family earns just above the sandwich class lower limit of $20,000 a month - a group which has priority in the scheme. ''We have been dreaming of owning a flat since we got married 14 years ago, but the problem is that we cannot afford the down payment. ''If the Government can lend $500,000 to us, it will really be a great help,'' Mr Chan said. But he was disappointed with the restriction of having to buy flats less than 10 years old. ''It is a very strict requirement. If we could choose an older flat, the mortgage payments would be less.'' Mr Chan said he would opt for a two-bedroom flat. Last night, he visited the Kornhill residential estate in Quarry Bay - where he hopes to buy a flat. With the Government's loan of up to $500,000, he plans to buy a $2 million flat. He estimated that he needed about $10,000 for monthly mortgage payments. He said he would apply for the loan as soon as possible. ''It is our best and, perhaps, our last chance to buy a flat. The Government is seldom so generous,'' he said. ''We cannot afford to miss it. ''Although we have to pay twice as much as my present rental for the mortgage, it is still worth it because, after 20 years, we will own our home.'' The rocketing property prices in recent years had not only dashed his hopes of becoming a home-owner but also forced him to move to smaller flats. ''We, at first, rented a 950-square-foot flat in Happy Valley. Because of redevelopment and rent increases, we moved to a 650-square-foot flat and now to a 550-square-foot one. ''We had thought of buying a flat. But the salary increases could never catch up with inflation and rising property prices - upgrading living quality seemed an unreachable goal.'' Euen, who is in Form One, was last night excited by the news and suggested to his father: ''It would be great if our new flat had a balcony. ''It need not be very big. But I want some space to play.'' But Mrs Chan, a housewife, expected keen competition and did not place high hopes on getting the loan.