MPF savings mulled for buying flats

Local | Phoenix Un 2 Nov 2017

The Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority is considering letting members use money in their accounts for first-time home purchases, said Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury James Henry Lau.

He was replying to a suggestion from legislator Paul Tse Wai-chun, that the government should examine the possibility of allowing first-time homebuyers to use the accrued benefits in their MPF accounts to make downpayments.

This is the practice in some countries such as Singapore, which allows citizens to take some accrued benefits for property purchases, Lau said, and the MPFA is now looking into whether it should allow it here.

But he warned that it may reduce retirement protection for citizens - and it may not provide much help in purchasing property.

"The average balance in an MPF account is only HK$180,000 because the monthly installment is low, thus in a normal situation it won't help a lot in first-time homebuying," Lau said.

He also said the installment rate of Singaporean employees might be as high as 37 percent, not comparable to Hong Kong's 10 percent by both employers and employees.

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