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CE unveils new housing measures in Policy Address

     The Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, today (October 12) announced in his Policy the resumption of the Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) and other initiatives to promote affordable housing and boost land supply.

     "To have a comfortable home and a good job is not only the aspiration of our people. It is also the Government's vision," Mr Tsang said.

     "We have always been committed to meeting housing needs of the people."

     The Chief Executive said a relatively small flat supply, abundant liquidity and ultra-low interest rates had fuelled property price rises in recent months.

     He announced that the Government would resume its HOS policy to assist low and middle-income families wishing to buy their own homes.

     "The new scheme will be targeted at families with a monthly household income under $30,000, mainly first-time home buyers," Mr Tsang said.

     "Flats with a saleable floor area of 400 to 500 square feet will be offered at affordable prices."

     The Government will allocate sites for this scheme.

     "With the sites identified at this stage, we plan to provide more than 17 000 flats over four years from 2016-17 onwards, with an annual production of between 2 500 and 6 500 flats," the Chief Executive said.

     "For the first year, 2 500 flats can be made available.  As more sites become available we will set our planning target at 5 000 flats a year on average."

     The pricing and resale policies of the revised HOS will also be updated.

     Referencing the mortgage repayment ability of eligible households, a rough estimate price of an HOS flat with a saleable floor area of 400 to 500 square feet would range from $1.5 million to $2 million.

     HOS flats bought under the new scheme may only be resold within the first five years of purchase to green form applicants. After five years, they may be sold on the open market after paying a premium to the Housing Authority.

     "This will enable owners to trade up and shift to the private residential market," Mr Tsang said.

     The Government will also enhance the My Home Purchase Plan (MHPP) which was announced last year to offer another choice on the housing ladder.

     Apart from the proposed "rent-and-buy" mode, the MHPP will also offer a "buy-or-rent" option. This would allow participants to buy the MHPP flats direct at market price without going through a rental period.

     Under the MHPP, the initial market selling price will serve as the ceiling price of that flat. Under the "rent-and-buy" option, the ceiling price is guaranteed regardless of any rise in property prices within two years after termination of tenancy.

     "This will protect participants from soaring property prices disrupting their plan for home ownership, and enable them to set more specific saving targets," Mr Tsang said.

     The tenancy period of MHPP flats will be up to five years, during which the rent will not be adjusted.

     "The MHPP will also provide tenants with a subsidy, equivalent to half of the net rental paid during the tenancy period, to help them cover part of the down payment," the Chief Executive said.

     To boost the supply of small and medium flats, the Government will continue with its policy of selling residential sites with flat size stipulations. Three sites with flat size restrictions have been sold so far which will provide 3 000 small and medium flats.

     Regarding West Rail property development projects, tender will soon be invited for the Nam Cheong development project, while the tender for three other projects is under preparation. These four projects together will provide about 7 500 flats, of which about 5 000 will be small and medium flats.

     Mr Tsang said the Government was stepping up efforts to ensure that the private residential sites at the Kai Tak Development Area will be made available progressively from before 2013.

     The Steering Committee on Housing Land Supply is also exploring various options to increase land supply including releasing industrial land for non-industrial use, the option of reclamation on an appropriate scale outside Victoria Harbour and examining "Government, Institution or Community" sites to avoid under-utilisation of sites.

     To tackle suspect sales practices, Mr Tsang said that the Government will issue a white bill next month to consult the public on regulating flat sales by legislation.

     The Chief Executive said: "The new HOS and the enhanced MHPP, together with the measures implemented over the past year or so, such as increasing land supply (including selling sites with flat size and flat number stipulations), combating speculative activities, ensuring the transparency of the property market, and preventing excessive expansion in mortgage lending, will contribute to the healthy and steady development of the property market."

     To meet growing demand for premier office space, Mr Tsang said the development of East Kowloon - including the new Kai Tak Development Area, Kwun Tong and Kowloon Bay - would provide another core business district for the city.

     "With the development of the office belt and tourism and leisure facilities at Kai Tak, combined with revitalised industrial buildings, East Kowloon is poised to be developed into a premier business district that provides an additional office floor area of 4 million square metres," Mr Tsang said.

Ends/Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Issued at HKT 13:19


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