Hong Kong homebuyers will get extra discounts on a new batch of some 7,000 subsidised flats amid the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Housing Authority has revealed. A total of 7,047 flats in four new developments in Diamond Hill, Fo Tan, Ma On Shan and Fanling, for which applications opened last week, are now available at a 40 per cent discount on the assessed market value, up from a provisionally set 37 per cent rate. Hong Kong homebuyers scramble for new batch of subsidised flats The discount, announced by the authority on Tuesday, was adjusted based on the median monthly household income – between April to June – of families who rent homes. This was a drop of about 5 per cent – from HK$41,800 to HK$39,800 (US$5,135) – compared to the figure for January to March, excluding required pension fund payments. The consideration of such median monthly household income in the pricing mechanism was a “one-off arrangement”, an authority spokesman said, “to take into account the rapid change in the economic climate arising from the Covid-19 epidemic”. Applications for the new phase of the Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) – the subsidised housing initiative for people who cannot buy homes in the private market – began on September 10 and will last until October 7. Buyers will be chosen through a ballot system. The further discount means flats at Kai Cheung Court in Diamond Hill, the most expensive housing development of this year’s HOS batch, will cost between HK$2.18 million and HK$4.89 million after the adjusted rate, down from HK$2.29 million to HK$5.13 million. Meanwhile, flats at Shan Lai Court in Fanling, the least expensive development, will sell for HK$1.17 million to HK$2.59 million versus the former range of HK$1.23 million to HK$2.72 million. Subsidised flats unappealing to families because of ‘small size and remote location’ Hong Kong’s gross domestic product contracted 9 per cent in the second quarter from the same period a year ago, falling just short of the record 9.1 per cent drop year on year for the first three months of 2020. The government has downgraded its 2020 forecast for the city’s economy as the city grapples with a third wave of coronavirus infections and rising US-China tensions. The economy is expected to shrink by between 6 and 8 per cent this year, versus the previous projection of a contraction of between 4 and 7 per cent. HOS applicants can choose to submit registrations and payment online, by mail or in person. The ballot is expected to be drawn in January next year, with flats to be selected as soon as June.