Hong Kong’s sky-high property prices are out of reach for 77 per cent of would-be flat buyers, according to a survey. Researchers Arete interviewed 1,115 adults on the telephone from March 8 to March 16. About 34 per cent of respondents indicated they wanted to buy a flat, but a majority among the group – 77 per cent – said they could not afford to do so under existing circumstances. Young adults aged 18 to 29 were most likely to be unable to afford to buy a property. Half of them wanted to buy a flat, but 88 per cent of the group said they could not afford it. Among all interviewees who said they cannot afford to buy a flat, 54 per cent said property prices needed to fall by half or more before they would have enough money to make their purchase. On the other hand, those who could afford to buy a flat were also affected by recent rises in the market. Almost 60 per cent said they had shelved their plans to purchase. Martin Yiu Tsz-yat, vice-executive director of Arete, proposed that the government set up a saving scheme for youngsters, with the aim of helping them buy their first flat within 10 years. “It should be similar to the iBond scheme, but with a higher interest rate of 5 per cent and sold only to those aged 18 to 30,” he said. The interest should be subsidised by the government from stamp duty and land sales revenue, he added. “We want to encourage youngsters to start saving up,” he said.