Home Ownership Scheme 2018 oversubscribed as citizens scramble for affordable housing

There are around 57 applicants competing for one flat.

Hong Kong’s 2018 Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) was more than oversubscribed after receiving more than 260,000 applications for 4,431 flats, chief executive Carrie Lam said in a government statement, as citizens still scramble for a piece of discounted housing in the city’s ultra-expensive property market.

Also read: Green Form Subsidised Home Ownership scheme to be regularised

Priced at around half the market rate, the properties in the three housing estates of Cheung Sha Wan, Kai Tak and Tung Chung, will be sold for $4,976 to $7,246 per square foot, or between $1.18m and $4.7m, according to a report from South China Morning Post.

With 152,000 applications in the first round and 106,000 in the second one, there are around 57 applicants competing for each flat.

Also read: Waiting time for public housing hits 18-year high

CE Lam earlier revised affordability test of the pricing mechanism for the Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) which opted using the the median monthly income of households which do not own flats at $39,500 over the use of the current monthly income limit of White Form family applicants at $57,000. The move ensures that the price of HOS flats will be brought down to about 52% of market value from the current 70%.

Lam said that the overwhelming response to the subsidised housing programme was ‘within expectations’ as she expects the upcoming Green Form Subsidised Home Ownership Scheme flats and units for the Starter Homes pilot project in Ma Tau Wai Road, to be sold early next year, to also be oversubscribed.

She added that the government will commit to increase the ratio of public housing as the government allocates more land for public housing development.

An average Hong Konger earning $50,000 in annual income would need around $900,000 to purchase a home, according to annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, which puts the median house prices in Hong Kong divided by annual median household income at 18.1.

Photo from Baycrest - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5

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