The government is planning to offer public flats for sale for as little as HK$1.5 million (US$193,462) each — half the market price — as part of its efforts to tackle the problem of unaffordable housing in Hong Kong, Ming Pao Daily reported Monday.
Aimed at helping citizens to own their homes, the program, along with another involving mixed development of land, will be a key point of the annual policy address Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying is due to deliver Wednesday, the report said.
A development in Shui Chuen O estate in Sha Tin is likely to be used as a pilot for the affordable public housing scheme, sources familiar with the matter told the newspaper.
The project, which includes four phases, was originally expected to provide 10 buildings containing a total of 6,500 public rental flats.
When the first two phases are completed this year, qualified tenants can move in.
The government may sell the remainder of the flats as affordable public housing as soon as next year, when they are expected to be finished.
There will be one-bedroom and two-bedroom flats with a usable area ranging between 151 square feet and 397 sq ft.
“Green form” applicants — lower-income people living in public housing — and Hongkongers on the waiting list for public rental housing will be eligible to buy the low-priced flats, the report quoted sources as saying.
Although the government’s initial plan is to offer such flats at prices that their owners can finance for monthly loan repayments of up to 40 percent of their income, the sources said it is also concerned that if the prices are too low, that might affect the resale of the flats in the future.
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