Homing in on luck

Top News | Stella Wong 12 Oct 2017

The Starter Homes scheme boils down to a matter of luck, say people interested in the move.

One young financier said he'll certainly try his luck as his salary falls within the range.

Another pointed out that while there are about 96,000 eligible households, there will be only about 3,000 such homes each year, while a third described it as a political gimmick to show Carrie Lam is doing something on housing.

Deco Wong, a 27-year-old man who works in the finance industry, said that under the policy he would be able to buy an apartment since his salary falls in the HK$26,000 to HK$34,000 range. "My salary is higher than the upper limit of the Home Ownership Scheme (HOS), but I do not have enough money to buy a flat in private housing estates," Wong said.

Although there's a limited supply of flats in the pilot scheme, Wong said he will "try his luck to apply for it" anyway.

Carol Ng Yuen-ying, a former anchor at i-Cable who hosted the program Property Outlook on Finance- Info Channel, criticized the scheme on her Facebook page.

She said she could apply for a flat but she was not satisfied with its details.

"One of the properties would possibly be the Henderson Land project in Tsiu Hang, Tai Po. Where is it? It is located opposite Providence Bay in Pak Shek Kok? I don't think this is really convenient," she said.

"Another location is in Tung Tsz, Tai Po. You will have a tough time suffering from the long commute for work," she said.

A mid-30s financier, surnamed Kwan, said there were no direct cooling measures to stabilize property prices.

With her salary range exceeding the upper limit of Starter Homes, she said the scheme was not helpful to those in the "sandwich class."

"The government should restrict mainlanders from investing in the Hong Kong property market," Kwan said.

Aaron Chow, a 39-year-old insurance manager, said: "The Starter Home scheme is more like a gimmick than an effective tool to help people buy flats," he said.

"It is only a political gimmick to show that Carrie Lam is doing something, but it cannot help solve the root problem or increase the land supply," Chow said, adding that it would be better to put more resources in building public housing instead.

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