Each new ‘green form’ subsidised home in Hong Kong will benefit two families, not just one

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 November, 2017, 3:57pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 November, 2017, 10:09pm

Most people want to own their own home. It gives a sense of security and belonging. Yet, others are not in a position to purchase their home or do not wish to be burdened by a mortgage. The key is to have a choice.

The chief executive has clearly stated that there is no cap on the number of public rental units to be built, so those who depend on this kind of housing can rest assured that this safety net will continue to be there.

Let us not get distracted from what is a correct and right policy by the chief executive to “substantially” increase the “supply of units” under the Green Form Subsidised Home Ownership Scheme (GSH). It gives qualified public rental tenants the ability to own a home of their own, by giving up their rental unit to the less-well-off who are waiting in line.

This scheme has many benefits, not only for the successful “green form” applicant. The rental units to be given up will be scattered throughout Hong Kong which, in turn, gives more choice of location for those waiting for a public rental unit.

Finding a home in Hong Kong

The maths is simple. Building one GSH flat enables a more well-off household, out of choice, to move into a flat they will own and in return give up their public rental flat to a less-well-off family waiting in line. Whereas if the money was spent on building a public rental flat, only one family instead of two would benefit. It also makes sense for the community as a whole. With more homeowners, more people have a stake in the success and continued stability of Hong Kong.

With an ageing population and the need for better care for the elderly, government resources can be better deployed if there are people willing and able to purchase “green form” flats which, unlike public rental flats, at least cover the cost of construction and more.

If the demand for these flats falls at any time, the units can easily revert to being public rental housing units. However, judging from the long queues at Home Ownership Scheme and private flat sales, the demand, for the moment, is there.

Vicky Davies, vice-chairman, Business and Professionals Federation of Hong Kong