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‘Flat’ chance for HOS hopefuls 2015.01.16
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THE Housing Authority received 41,000 applications for its coming 2,160 Home Ownership Scheme (HOS, 居者有其屋計畫) flats, highlighting the dire need for affordable housing among Hong Kong youth.

Young adults were among those who flocked to the authority’s customer service centre in Lok Fu (樂富) to hand in their application forms by Monday’s deadline. The queue was as long as 1 kilometre.

A student, surnamed Wan, said he is applying as “it costs a lot to rent a flat in Hong Kong”. A would-be college student, surnamed So, said his parents encouraged him to apply and would help him with the down payment.

Property developers said late last year that private flats costing less than HK$3 million are increasingly becoming a thing of the past in the west New Territories (新界).

In a report published last August, the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK, 香港中文大學) estimated an average resident needs to save for at least 14 years to afford a 400-square-foot home in Kowloon (九龍).

Of the 41,000 forms, 96 percent or 39,200 were ‘white forms’ submitted by those who are not eligible for public housing flats. With 40 percent or 864 of the 2,160 units going to this group of applicants, it means their chances of getting a flat is one in 45.

The batch of HOS flats, which span five estates in the New Territories, are priced from HK$1.87 million to HK$3.26 million, or HK$5,593 to HK$6,113 per saleable sq ft. The flats are to be completed between 2016 and 2017. Lots will be drawn in March.

(The Standard, 13 January 2015)

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