Long queues for Hong Kong subsidised housing as potential buyers hail plan
Some in line for application forms at Housing Society’s office say policy is a step in the right direction
Potential home buyers in Hong Kong called for more subsidised housing on Tuesday as they queued up for application forms on the opening day of show flats for two new projects.
Hundreds of people formed long lines outside the Housing Society’s office in Cheung Sha Wan for papers to two discounted flats projects – Mount Verdant in Tseung Kwan O and Terrace Concerto in Tuen Mun.
Applications for both developments will open from November 7 to 20.
A total of 620 flats will go on sale at 30 per cent below market rate. The price tags range from HK$1.92 million for a one-bedroom home in Tuen Mun to HK$6.23 million for a three-bedroom home in Tseung Kwan O.
Many visitors were residents of public rental housing and wished to own their homes, a trend in line with Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s plans to shift the government’s public housing policy from a rental model to one based on ownership. This will encourage more public housing tenants to buy subsidised housing and release their rental flats to those who are waiting.
On Tuesday, Lam apologised for the confusion and backlash over her suggestion that 800,000 public rental flats would be sufficient to fulfil the housing demand of low-income families. The number was deemed too low by housing experts and legislators.
She clarified that the figure was “not a ceiling” and she was merely “taking stock of what we already have”.
Among those who were queuing up at the Housing Society’s office was Yuen Wing-han, 62, who lives with her husband and three sons in a 400 sq ft public flat in Shek Yam East Estate, Kwai Chung. She said she hoped one of her sons would get a two-bedroom flat in Tuen Mun so that he could start his own family.
“Of course we public housing residents hope to get rich. No one wants to be poor forever,” Yuen said. “Since we can’t afford private flats, which can cost over HK$10,000 per square foot, we hope to own subsidised flats.”
The flats in Tuen Mun are priced at an average of about HK$7,000 per square foot, and those in Tseung Kwan O cost HK$8,700 per square foot.
Yuen said she would contribute HK$400,000 to the down payment if her son managed to get a flat. Buyers can get a mortgage loan of up to 90 per cent of the cost, according to the Housing Society.
“I think the government is heading in the right direction by planning to build more subsidised flats,” she said.
“I hope they are bigger than standard public flats so big families like ours … who have outgrown a public flat … can move in together.”
Another prospective buyer, Luk Yiu Hang, 29, was applying for a medium-sized flat in Tuen Mun because he was getting married next year. He currently lives with his parents and two siblings in Tsing Yi.
“The younger generation have to think about housing, otherwise where are we going to live when our parents pass away?” Luk said, adding that his current rental flat was under the names of his parents.
“I look forward to more subsidised flats. If I don’t get it this time, I will definitely try my luck with the Cheung Sha Wan project next year,” he said.
Luk said he was attracted by the project – to be completed next year – near Cheung Sha Wan Wholesale Food Market, because of its proximity to two MTR stations.