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LCQ17: Flat size of subsidised sale housing
     Following is a question by the Hon Paul Tse and a written reply by the Secretary for Housing, Ms Winnie Ho, in the Legislative Council today (February 8):


     It is learnt that since the new round of Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) flats put up for sale on November 15 last year, the sales of "nano flats" have been sluggish. As at January 19 this year, as many as 90 per cent of nano flats did not receive any interest. On the other hand, some members of the public have relayed that they have recently been informed by the Hong Kong Housing Authority that the nano flats put up for sale under the Green Form Subsidised Home Ownership Scheme (GSH) in early years are still available for selection and purchase. Many members of the public have criticised the nano flats for being completely unattractive and the Government for failing to consider thoroughly in planning for housing development. On the contrary, the sales of one- to three-bedroom flats that are over 300 square feet (sq ft) in size have been feverish, and the stocks of flats in a number of housing courts have long been sold out. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) among the HOS flats put up for sale and GSH flats reselling currently, of the number and sales figures of those flats with a saleable area of less than 200 sq ft;

(2) whether it has studied the reasons for the sluggish sales of the aforesaid flats; of the corresponding plans in place;

(3) of the respective total numbers of HOS and GSH flats with a saleable area of less than 200 sq ft that were put up for sale in the past five years, as well as the respective percentages of such flats in those available for sale in the sale exercises of the relevant schemes;

(4) of the estimated numbers of HOS and GSH flats with a saleable area of less than 200 sq ft to be completed in the coming three years; whether the authorities will, in the light of the sluggish sales of the unpopular nano flats, adjust the future supplies of large, medium and small HOS flats, including reducing the number of nano flats and increasing the number of one-, two- and three-bedroom flats;

(5) it is learnt that after listening to the views from various sectors in society in 2021, the authorities incorporated a minimum flat size restriction into the tender conditions for certain government lands, of the reasons why the authorities still build nano flats under HOS and GSH at present; and

(6) whether it will consider allowing each person eligible for purchasing HOS or GSH flats to concurrently buy two adjoining nano flats (if any) or two nano flats on adjoining floors, with a view to catering for the housing needs of families and the needs for older and younger generations to live on the same floor, boosting the sales of nano flats, and increasing the public rental housing (PRH) tenants' incentives to surrender their PRH flats?



     My consolidated reply to the questions raised by the Hon Paul Tse is as follows:

     Taking into account the needs of families of different household sizes, the majority of the Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) flats constructed by the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) are generally built with different sizes, with the saleable area (SA) of the flats ranging from about 270 square feet (sq ft) to about 450 sq ft. The HA will also consider designing flats with smaller sizes in order to maximise the site potential and cater for the needs of smaller families, having regard to the environmental factors of individual sites, such as the location, topography, etc. Out of the some 13 600 flats under the "Sale of HOS flats 2022" which are currently on sale and the "Sale of Green Form Subsidised Home Ownership Scheme (GSH) Flats 2022" which are scheduled for sale in the first quarter of 2023, there are about 800 flats with SA below 200 sq ft. (less than 6 percent of the total). As the above two sale exercises are still in progress, it is premature to project the final sales position at this juncture.

     In the past five years, the HA had put up a total of about 16 300 HOS flats for sale, all of which were of SA over 200 sq ft. and they were all sold out. As regards GSH, the HA had put up a total of about 8 400 GSH flats for sale in the past five years and the SA of about 1 400 flats were below 200 sq ft. (about 17 per cent of the total). Apart from some flats of smaller size in Ching Fu Court and Dip Tsui Court, all GSH flats put up for sale were sold. The HA has arranged to put up those flats for sale to eligible Public Rental Housing (PRH) applicants who hold valid PRH applications for more than one year under the Express Flat Allocation Scheme 2022. The relevant flat selection is in progress.

     In view of recent sales experience, we consider that GSH flats of smaller size are less popular. In addition, as mentioned in "The Chief Executive’s 2022 Policy Address", the SA of all subsidised sale flats (SSF) completed from 2026-27 onwards will be no less than 26 square meters in general. The HA will follow the policy directive as set out in the Policy Address in formulating the flat mix and sales arrangements for SSF in upcoming sale exercises. Therefore, we consider it not necessary to allow the purchase of two adjoining flats or two flats on adjoining floors of smaller size to a single applicant eligible for HOS or GSH flats as a means to expedite the sale of SSF.
Ends/Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Issued at HKT 12:00
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