Homes chief opens up on flat sales

Local | Phoenix Un 19 Oct 2018

A total of 1,700 households will be eligible to sell their larger flats under the Housing Society and buy smaller ones starting from next year, the society's new chairman, Walter Chan Kar-lok, said yesterday.

Chan was elected the society's chairman last month, replacing Marco Wu Moon-hoi, who retired.

One upcoming policy concerning the society was the "Flat for Flat Pilot Scheme for Elderly Owners" mentioned in the Policy Address. The scheme will allow owners aged 60 or above, who have owned their flats for at least 10 years, to sell their original flats and buy a smaller subsidized housing flat in the secondary market without needing to pay a premium.

Among the 8,000 subsidized flats under the Housing Society without land premiums paid, 1,700 of them are eligible to be involved in the scheme, Chan said.

The area of the 1,700 flats range from 400 to 700 square feet, with 90 percent of them having two or three bedrooms.

He also expects the pilot scheme to be launched as soon as the middle of next year, but there are still some details that have to be discussed with the Transport and Housing Bureau, such as the area range of the larger flats, how much smaller the new flats should be, how to avoid people abusing the scheme, and whether flat owners should first sell their original flats or buy the smaller flats.

"Although the policy address said the owners should sell their flats and then buy a new one, it is still yet to be finalized," Chan said.

Meanwhile, Chan revealed that another pilot scheme allowing owners of Housing Society flats with unpaid premiums to sublet their flats to needy families has not met with a positive response.

Only seven households in the 21 Housing Society estates had applied to sublet their flats since applications for the scheme first began in September, he said.

Chan said he is concerned about the elderly residents in their estates, who made up 37 percent of the whole population living in Housing Society units, compared with only 26 percent of Hong Kong's entire population.

He hopes newly reconstructed Housing Society estates will have Senior Citizen Residences Scheme facilities for elderly to have care service in the community.

phoenix.un@singtaonewscorp.com

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