There was no strict rule that the sale of Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) flats could not resume before 2007, the housing chief said yesterday. 'We are not rigid. We will listen to the community,' Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands Michael Suen Ming-yeung told a Housing Authority meeting. 'We will be flexible if there are any changes in society ... and we will take appropriate measures.' Mr Suen said the authority's decision on the unsold flats was influenced by the government's overall housing policy. 'What the Housing Authority can do is study how to properly handle unsold Home Ownership Scheme flats and closely monitor the situation,' he said. In November 2002, the government scrapped the Home Ownership Scheme as one of nine measures to help stabilise the property market and said the remaining flats would not be sold before 2007. The scheme was launched in 1978 to provide homes for those who could not afford to buy open-market flats. The Housing Department's deputy director, Tam Wing-pong, said the department would be studying the resale of HOS flats this year and would submit suggestions to the Housing Authority. Wong Kwun, a Housing Authority member and chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong, Kowloon and New Territories Public Housing Estates Residents and Shopowners Organisation, urged the government to adopt flexible measures in handling unsold HOS flats, given the improved market situation. 'If, unfortunately, the market plunges when the freeze is up, I think the Housing Authority will find it difficult to sell the flats.' Property prices have increased more than 40 per cent since the Sars outbreak in 2003. Sin Chung-kai, another authority member, also urged the relaunch of public rental flat sales.