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HA decides to implement new round of Interim Scheme to Extend the Home Ownership Scheme Secondary Market to White Form Buyers

The following is issued on behalf of the Hong Kong Housing Authority:

     The Subsidised Housing Committee (SHC) of the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) today (November 24) considered the initial assessment on the implementation of the Interim Scheme to Extend the Home Ownership Scheme Secondary Market to White Form Buyers, and decided to implement one more round of the Interim Scheme in mid-2015 with a quota of 2 500 and to streamline the procedures.

     To implement the Chief Executive's election manifesto and to address the home ownership aspirations of lower- to middle-income households, the HA implemented the Interim Scheme in January 2013 to allow 5 000 eligible White Form (WF) applicants to purchase flats without premium paid in the Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) Secondary Market.

     As at the end of September 2014, more than 2 100 households with WF status had achieved home ownership through the Interim Scheme. As the first batch of new HOS flats will not be completed until 2016-17, the Interim Scheme has provided WF buyers an additional channel, previously not available to them, to purchase subsidised sale flats in the interim period.

     "Without the Interim Scheme, these households might have found it difficult to purchase private housing in the open market," a spokesman for the HA said.

     The SHC has considered a number of ways forward for the Interim Scheme. The SHC agreed that the Interim Scheme has achieved its objectives of helping lower- to middle-income households to achieve home ownership, met the need of the sellers, and improved the circulation of the HOS Secondary Market.

     "With the experience of only one round of the Interim Scheme, there are still uncertainties about the full and exact impact on prices to determine the future of the Interim Scheme. Given the strong demand for subsidised sale flats in society nowadays, the SHC considered it prudent to release one more round with a quota of 2 500 in mid-2015 to better test out the effect of the Interim Scheme, before conducting a comprehensive review and coming to a firm view on its future," the spokesman said.

     "Implementing a new round of the Interim Scheme will address WF buyers' home ownership aspirations. We have also reduced the quota to 2 500 to address the concern on the scheme's possible impact on flat prices," the spokesman continued.

     The SHC also decided during today's meeting to streamline the procedures of the Interim Scheme. Measures will include issuing one more round of Approval Letters to other applicants if successful applicants do not collect the Certificates of Eligibility to Purchase (CEPs) within the prescribed period of six weeks in order to better utilise the quota; lengthening the validity period of CEPs from six months to 12 months; no longer requiring successful applicants issued with Approval Letters to apply for CEPs as they would need only collect CEPs upon payment of fees; and omitting the checking on income and asset limits previously conducted at the Letter of Nomination stage.

     When the new round of the Interim Scheme is launched in mid-2015, the Housing Department (HD) will arrange posters, newspaper advertisements and broadcasts on radio during the application period, and will issue press releases and put relevant information on the HA/HD website.

Ends/Monday, November 24, 2014
Issued at HKT 18:05


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