URA spells out homes plans

Local | Michael Shum 16 Jun 2021

The Urban Renewal Authority will roll out about 2,260 Starter Home flats over the next five years, with the first project to be on pre-sale by mid-2023.

This came following an enthusiastic response to the authority's first Starter Home project, the eResidence in Hung Hom, which provided 450 flats for first-time home buyers at a 38 percent discount to market prices.

The URA said yesterday there would be two projects on sale in the coming five years - a sequel to the eResidence and the redevelopment of Tai Hang Sai Estate in Shek Kip Mei.

"The second phase of the eResidence will provide around 260 flats as Starter Homes, while the redevelopment at Tai Hang Sai Estate will provide around 2,000 flats for first-time home buyers," said URA chairman Chow Chung-kong.

The redevelopment at Tai Hang Sai Estate is expected to be rolled out for pre-sale in 2026 and completed in 2028.

The URA said the redevelopment at Tai Hang Sai Estate will be divided into two sites and developed separately.

One of the sites will offer 1,300 flats in two blocks to house existing tenants of the estate, while the other will have 2,000 flats in six blocks to be offered as Starter Homes.

Chow said the URA is working hard to roll out the second phase of eResidence by mid-2023. It is in talks with the Lands Department to relax restrictions for them to start a presale nine months before the completion of the project.

"This will allow us to satisfy people's housing needs as soon as possible," he added.

Regarding the layouts of the Starter Home flats, URA managing director Wai Chi-sing said they have yet to reach a decision.

"But based on our experience, some buyers favor a studio flat, therefore there might still be studio flats, and there will also be three-bedroom units available," Wai said.

The URA said it will spend more than HK$100 billion to build 18,000 flats over the next five years, making it the biggest target since its establishment in 2001.

It said it will need financing starting from 2024.

The URA now has a cash flow of HK$9 billion, which will increase to HK$20 billion by March, Chow said.

But it is expected to turn into a negative cash flow in 2031 to 2032, as its revenue might no longer be able to cover the expenses of the authority, Wai said.

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