Hundreds flock to Kwun Tong for Hong Kong government-subsidised homes at knockdown prices
- Sales office for Lai Tsui Court development in Cheung Sha Wan sees crowds as new set of properties go on sale under Green Form Subsidised Home Ownership Scheme
- Hong Kong housing chief expected to announce that proportion of new flats built by public sector over next 10 years to be 70 per cent, up on 60:40 split put forward earlier
Hundreds of Hongkongers flocked to Kwun Tong on Friday morning to apply for a new batch of government-subsidised homes going on sale at knockdown prices.
About 100 people flooded the sales office for Lai Tsui Court in Cheung Sha Wan before 9am. By noon about 200 had visited per hour on average since the doors opened at 8am.
Some 2,545 flats are being offered by the Housing Authority, Hong Kong’s main provider of public housing, under the government’s Green Form Subsidised Home Ownership Scheme.
The properties are aimed at public housing tenants or applicants who meet eligibility requirements.
The project is the first since Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced last year that the scheme would become a regular one after the success of a pilot. It is expected to help significantly increase the supply of subsidised flats in the city, together with other schemes.
Hong Kong’s housing chief is expected to announce on Friday afternoon that the proportion of new housing built by the public sector over the next 10 years will be 70 per cent, as opposed to the 60:40 split put forward earlier.
Most applicants at Kwun Tong on Friday morning were aged in their 40s and 50s. A number were elderly residents seeking flats for their children.
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A woman surnamed Chan arrived at 8.30am in search of an application form for her 30-something son who was living in a public housing flat with his wife and two children aged four and seven.
She said her son earned about HK$20,000 (US$2,550) a month as a salesman and his wife took care of their children.
“Their flat is too small and the environment is horrible,” she said.
A man surnamed Han said his daughter, 45, had been living with her husband and two sons in a public housing flat in Cheung Sha Wan since 2002. Han wanted a flat of the largest size available to provide a more comfortable place for the family.
The properties on offer range from 184 sq ft to 452 sq ft and are going at a discount of 58 per cent on the market value. The average per sq ft price is HK$6,243, and the total selling price ranges from HK$932,500 to HK$3.06 million.
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A man surnamed Zhang, 23, came with his mother. He said he had been living with his parents and 19-year-old brother in a public housing flat for about six years in Southern district on Hong Kong Island. He shared a room in the property with his brother.
“We have been saving for more than two years, hoping to move to a bigger house,” he said.
A woman surnamed Wang, 48, came for more information about the project but was not sure whether she was eligible to apply. She had lived with her husband and 14-year-old son in a 100 sq ft subdivided flat in Mong Kok for more than 10 years, and was waiting for a place on a public housing scheme.
With a monthly salary of HK$13,000 and her husband’s earnings from a part-time job, she said she was eager to secure a place on the subsidised homes project.
“Hong Kong is great in everything except for housing,” said Wang, originally from Dongguan in southern China’s Guangdong province. “My son has been complaining about our small home.”
The Housing Authority will be taking applications until January 10.
“Balloting is expected to be held in February 2019,” a spokesman for the authority said. “It is anticipated that eligible applicants will be invited for flat selections starting from March, according to their order of priority.”
A spokesman for the Housing Authority said a total of 4,800 application forms were distributed at the sales office in Kwun Tong by 5pm on Friday. Applicants can also obtain the forms at other offices or download them from the Authority’s website, he said.