Starter homes race sparks agency rethink

Local | Phoenix Un 11 Feb 2019

Public housing providers, the Housing Authority and Housing Society, may be allowed a role in the second Starter Home project, Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan said.

This comes after applications for the first Starter Homes Scheme - "eResidence" on Ma Tau Wai Road - developed by the Urban Renewal Authority, closed last month.

The 430 flats under the scheme were sold at 62 percent of market price, with 20,800 applications, meaning the units were 45 times oversubscribed.

The government has reserved a plot on Anderson Road in Kwun Tong for the second Starter Homes Scheme of 1,000 flats.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor had said in her maiden Policy Address in 2017 that the two-hectare plot for 1,700 flats would be sold to developers for mixed construction: 1,000 flats to be allocated for Starter Homes, and the remainder for private housing.

But Chan said yesterday it would be reasonable to make the URA, the Housing Authority or the Housing Society construct and sell the second set of Starter Homes.

Lot drawings for eResidence are scheduled to be held in March, and successful applicants may start choosing flats in June.

The six new policies announced by Lam in June included reallocating nine private sites for public housing, with six located on Anderson Road, but the plot reserved for the Starter Homes Scheme was not included.

Only permanent residents who have never previously owned properties here are eligible, and households of two or more must have monthly income of between HK$57,001 and HK$74,100, while that for individual applicants would be divided by two.

Meanwhile, the government confirmed the Public Transport Fare Subsidy Scheme will be made available for those people whose monthly expenses on transport exceed HK$400.

The government will provide a subsidy amounting to 25 percent of the actual monthly public transport expenses in excess of HK$400, subject to a maximum of HK$300 per month.

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