Market decline worries HOS lucky draw winners

Top News | Stella Wong 10 Dec 2019

The lucky few who got to choose flats in the latest Home Ownership Scheme are split over whether it is a good time to buy property amid the social unrest.

Those selected in the previous lucky draw were allowed to choose flats at the Housing Authority's Lok Fu customer services center starting yesterday.

They were originally scheduled to pick the flats last month but it was postponed due to protests.

A total of 4,871 flats in six estates - Kwun Tak Court in Ho Man Tin, Hoi Tak Court in Cheung Sha Wan, Sheung Man Court in Kwai Chung, Yung Ming Court in Tseung Kwan O, Kam Fai Court in Ma On Shan and Yuk Wo Court in Sha Tin - have been put on sale at 59 percent of the market price.

HOS flats have long been popular due to its discounted prices, but a recent drop in property prices has potential buyers worried.

Private home prices slipped for a fifth consecutive month in October, dropping 5.2 percent compared to June. CLSA last month warned that property prices are expected to decline by 20 percent in the next 12 months.

The first batch of buyers invited to pick flats included residents affected by redevelopment projects.

Among them, a Mrs Lam from Pak Tin Estate who was delighted but apprehensive about the near future.

"If the market continues to fall like it did in 1997, then I am worried that I may have to forfeit the deposit," she said.

Lam said her family favors a three-bedroom flat at Kwun Tak Court in Ho Man Tin, but she is hesitant to buy "because property prices really kept falling recently and the flat is not cheap."

She added: "My son wanted to live in Ho Man Tin and the flat costs over HK$5 million."

But another from Pak Tin Estate, Mrs Wan, said market prices would make little difference as long as the flat is not for speculation.

She said she is not worried about market fluctuations as the flat is for self-occupation. Wan also preferred a flat in Ho Man Tin, citing its convenient location.

Another potential buyer, Mrs Wong, who picked a large-sized flat at Kwun Tak Court, was also concerned. The public housing resident, who needs to rely on a mortgage loan, worried whether the flat would be overpriced.

The selection process was delayed to 10.30am yesterday due to potential traffic disruptions.

The latest round saw the most flats the Housing Authority has put on sale since the scheme resumed in 2014.

The authority earlier received a record-breaking 310,000 applications for the flats, oversubscribed by 62 times.

The units range from 276 to 568 square feet and are priced between HK$1.56 million to HK$5.29 million. The "king of flats," a 563-sq-ft Ho Man Tin flat priced at HK$5.29 million, was picked within 40 minutes.

In addition, 33 rescinded flats in five previous projects - Ka Shun Court in Sha Tin, Ping Yan Court in Yuen Long, Ngan Wai Court and Ngan Ho Court in Mui Wo, and Choi Hing Court in Kwun Tong - were put up for resale after their original agreements for sale and purchase were canceled.

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