A public housing project in Sham Shui Po is likely to see some of its rental flats being sold under the government’s Green Form Subsidised Home Ownership Scheme (GSH).
The scheme aims to help low-income people to own their own homes. Some of the flats originally earmarked for rental to public housing applicants are allowed to be sold at low prices to eligible “Green form” applicants – lower-income people living in public housing – and those on the waiting list for public rental housing.
The Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) launched the first GSH pilot project, King Tai Court in San Po Kong, in October 2016 and saw heavy oversubscription.
In light of the huge success, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced in her first policy address in October last year that the government will substantially increase the supply of GSH flats that cater for public rental housing tenants.
On Wednesday, the HA Subsidised Housing Committee held a meeting to discuss which planned public housing projects are suitable to offer GSH flats in the future, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Six potential locations were chosen, according to a source. They are in Tonkin Street in Sham Shui Po, Chai Wan Road in Chai Wan, Wang Chiu Road in Kwun Tong, Northwest Kowloon reclamation area, Tsing Hung Road in Tsing Yi, and Fo Tan in Sha Tin.
The source said the projects, once completed, can provide up to 14,450 GSH flats in total.
Phase One of Lai Chi Estate in Sham Shui Po is most likely to be the first of the six to offer GSH flats, whose number is estimated to be about 2,500, as its construction is nearly complete and acceptance of applications may begin as soon as the end of this year, the source said.
The Fo Tan project was originally the first choice as Lam had proposed to turn its 4,800 units into GSH flats.
However, the committee decided earlier this year to find another location because the number was too many and some of them might end up being unsalable as a result, although it did not exclude the project, the source said.
Lawmaker and HA member Wilson Or Chong-shing from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong said most of the committee members are inclined to avoid offering too many GSH flats at one time, and as such, the Fo Tan project is not a perfect candidate although the flats are expected to be completed in 2019.
While some of the HA members proposed to offer only part of the Fo Tan flats for the GSH scheme and the rest for rentals, the authorities concerned did not support the idea because that would lead to a sub-deed issue, which may slow down the launch process.
The proposal to offer GSH flats in different phases was also deemed unlikely to be feasible because it would involve high administrative costs.
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