Hong Kong to sell cheap homes to help people get on property ladder

Public housing in the Tin Shui Wai district in Hong Kong. Despite a dip in the past four months, Hong Kong's home prices are almost 50 per cent higher than five years ago, according to Centaline Property Agency. The government said on Tuesday that th
Public housing in the Tin Shui Wai district in Hong Kong. Despite a dip in the past four months, Hong Kong's home prices are almost 50 per cent higher than five years ago, according to Centaline Property Agency. The government said on Tuesday that the market is having an orderly correction.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

HONG KONG • Hong Kong's government is set to sell its first batch of cheap homes under a new programme to help people get on the property ladder in the world's least affordable housing market.

The "starter homes" in Kowloon, across the harbour from Hong Kong Island, will be priced at about 38 per cent below market levels - or around HK$13,000 (S$2,300) per sq ft - the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported yesterday, citing unidentified sources.

People can apply from next month, it said.

The initiative will "accommodate a very small portion of those wanting to get on the housing ladder", said Mr Denis Ma, head of research at Jones Lang LaSalle.

Another government programme to provide cheap apartments this year saw more than 260,000 applications for 4,431 flats, while home ownership has tumbled to the lowest level in nearly 30 years.

  • $2,300

    Approximate price per sq ft of the starter homes in Kowloon.

    260k

    Number of applicants for 4,431 homes released by the Hong Kong government under another cheap housing programme earlier this year.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam promised the starter-home programme in her inaugural address last year. Other initiatives since then include plans to build homes on artificial islands and a vacancy tax on unsold apartments.

 

Those eligible for the 450 starter homes include single permanent residents who earn no more than HK$37,000 a month and do not already own homes. Buyers face restrictions on reselling, the Economic Journal reported.

Despite a dip in the past four months, Hong Kong's home prices are almost 50 per cent higher than five years ago, according to Centaline Property Agency.

The government said on Tuesday that the market is having an orderly correction.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 20, 2018, with the headline 'HK to sell cheap homes to help people get on property ladder'. Print Edition | Subscribe