The head of the Housing Society has called on chief executive-elect Leung Chun-ying's administration to resurrect the 'sandwich class' housing scheme after it takes office on July 1. In an exclusive interview, society chairman Yeung Ka-sing said the urgency of the housing shortage meant there was no time to waste in building affordable homes for those whose income is too high to qualify for low-cost housing but too low to buy a home in the red-hot property market. 'Land supply is limited. We don't have a perfect market and the government must intervene,' said Yeung, who supported Leung's campaign to become chief executive. 'The new government should take the opportunity to review our housing policy. Any new housing scheme should be easy to communicate, understand and administer,' he said, referring to a plan devised by incumbent chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen. A rent-or-buy scheme for the middle-class that Tsang commissioned the society in 2010 to deliver, called the 'My Home Purchase Plan', had not been easy to understand or administer, he said. It would also create financial uncertainties for the society, a non-profit organisation and the second-largest provider of subsidised housing after the Housing Authority. A better option, according to Yeung, would be to revive the Sandwich Class Housing Scheme, run by the society until 2002, when the government shut down most subsidised housing schemes following the financial crisis. 'The scheme proved to be a popular product, familiar to Hong Kong people. Buyers only needed to make a small down payment with our guarantee for mortgage.' Sandwich class homes could be built on some of the 20 low-cost rental estates that the society currently manages, Yeung said. After enough flats had been built to rehouse affected tenants, the surplus plot ratio on these sites could be used for other types of homes. Yue Kwong Chuen in Aberdeen is understood to be among the estates being considered for such a move. Launched in 1993, the sandwich class scheme provided 8,920 homes for sale to families whose household income exceeded HK$30,000 a month, with a cap of up to HK$60,000 depending on circumstances. These families' incomes exceeded the limit for Housing Authority's Home Ownership Scheme, but many were unable to afford the down payment required to buy a home in the private sector. While past homes in the scheme were sold at a 20 to 40 per cent discount, Yeung said future homes 'must be priced with reference to buyers' mortgage repayment ability instead of discounting the market price, as it can be very high.' A study on housing demand would be necessary to determine how many such flats should be built, he added. Since the government said in 2002 that it would no longer grant land to the society to build low-cost rental homes, the society has been criticised for having a confusing role, especially when it recently promoted two luxury housing projects for the elderly. Wong Leung-sing, an associate research director at Centaline Property, warned against a return to the scheme. 'Officials say they have problems finding land for building public rental homes. Why does the society not use its extra plot ratio for those rental homes for the lower income group instead?' he asked.