about “My Home Purchase Plan”

In the most recent policy address(2010-2011) given by the head of HKSAR, there is a highlight about policy to promote affordable housing and to subsidy sandwich class to purchase homes regarding housing. The program underlies SAR's belief stated in the head's policy address, "The Government recognises the importance of a stable home, and is fully aware of our people's wishes to improve their quality of life and move up the social ladder through home ownership.”  It has aroused major discussion about the competency of the program. 

It sounds brief and clear, "rent-and-buy." However,we need to pay attention to the fact that it is not a program that subsidizes rent unless you have a home purchase plan during the five-year period participating in the program. In another word, you have to be definite to change your identity as a tenant in the city to become qualified for this subsidy.

Meanwhile, I wonder if it can be considered more as a subsidy to investors rather than renters regarding the fact that tenants who plan to purchase housing stock in private market would also be qualified. The program seems to be more like a linkage that aims to facilitate capital moving between governmental subsidy and private market. The only benefit a renter who would not buy a house after five year is probably the zero-gain rent during the period. Moreover, it is quite clear that the program is not designed for the most deprived renters in the city.
* the policy is published here http://gia.info.gov.hk/general/201010/13/P201010130272_0272_70332.pdf
a summary from Housing Society: "A Subsidised Plan with Flexibility"
「在這個計劃下,房協會以市值租金把『置安心資助房屋計劃』單位租予合資格人士,租約期最長為五年, 期間不會調整租金。參與計劃的租戶,可以在入伙兩年後,以市價購入他們承租的單位或計劃下的其他單位,亦可以選擇購買私人市場上的單位。他們將獲得等同於在租住期間所繳納的一半淨租金的資助,用作 繳付部分首期。五年租約期滿後,租戶必須遷出,但 仍有兩年時間考慮購置單位。

正如行政長官於施政報告所說,這項計劃的優點是較具靈活性,夾心階層除了可自由選擇購買的單位外, 房協亦提供最長五年的租住單位,讓他們有充裕的時 間思考其置業計劃,毋需因樓價的短期波動而急於置 業。同時,由於租金在這五年內不會調整,他們便可專注儲蓄,以應付日後置業時的部分首期。此外,計劃沒有傳統居屋的轉售限制以及補價要求,增加市民在物業市場向上流動的機會。

房協位於青衣青綠街的地皮,將成為這項計劃的首個 試驗項目,提供約一千個「實而不華」的中小型住宅單 位,七成為兩房單位,另為一房及三房單位,面積約 五百至八百四十平方呎,預計於二零一四年落成,最 快可於二零一二年推出接受預租申請。房協將與運輸及房屋局緊密合作,進一步研究計劃的 申請資格及計劃詳情。

Under this Plan, the Housing Society will lease the flats to eligible applicants at prevailing market rates. The tenancy period will be up to five years, within which the rent will stay put. After an occupation period of two years, tenants may purchase the flat they rent or another flat under the Plan at prevailing market price, or a flat on the private market. They will receive a subsidy equivalent to half of the net rental they have paid during the tenancy period, and use it for part of the down payment. Upon maturity of the five-year tenancy period, tenants will have to move out but still consider purchasing a flat within a period of two years.
As highlighted by the Chief Executive in the Policy Address, the Plan has a number of merits. It offers the sandwich class with flexibility in choosing the flats they want to purchase while the Housing Society provides them with rental flats for a maximum of five years. They will have sufficient time to think through their housing plan without rushing into buying flats during short-term fluctuations on property prices. Also, as there will not be any rental adjustment during the five-year period, they can focus on saving up for the down payment for their future flat purchase. Moreover, there will be no re-sale restrictions or premium requirement as in the case of conventional HOS flats. This will facilitate upward mobility on the property market.
Pilot Project to be Developed in Tsing Yi
The Housing Society will commence the first pilot project at the site in Tsing Luk Street in Tsing Yi to provide about 1,000 simple but elegant small and medium flats. 70% of the flats will be of two-bedroom design and the rest will be one-bedroom and three-bedroom, with size ranging from 00 to 80 square feet. The project is expected to complete in 201 and pre-lease application will be available soonest by 2012.

The Housing Society will work closely with the Transport and Housing Bureau to further study the eligibility criteria and details of the Plan.

新聞來源:明報置業網 http://property.mpfinance.com/cfm/pc3.cfm?File=20101021/pca01/1.txt

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