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Hong Kong to boost homeownership

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-10-12 10:24

HONG KONG -- Chief Executive of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has outlined plans to help people of different means become home owners.

In her maiden policy address on Wednesday, Lam said meeting the public's housing needs is the government's top priority and the government has an indispensable role to play in the provision of adequate housing.

She said the government will introduce a "Starter Homes" scheme for middle-class families.

The initial plan is to incorporate provisions into the land lease to require developers to build not only private units, but also a specified number of "Starter Homes" units, she said.

Those eligible to buy "Starter Homes" must be local residents who have lived in Hong Kong for at least seven years and have never owned any property here.

Their income ceiling will be set at not exceeding 34,000 HK dollars ($4,356) a month for singletons and 68,000 HK dollars for households of two or more members.

Details on the scheme will be finalized in the middle of next year and a pilot scheme will be launched by the end of next year to provide about 1,000 units.

On the short-term ways to increase housing supply, Lam said the government will optimize the use of idle government premises to provide units for the needy at an affordable rent.

Noting the Green Form Subsidized Home Ownership Scheme (GSH) can help the better-off public housing tenants move up the housing ladder and vacate their units for the needy, Lam said she has asked the Housing Authority to consider regularizing the scheme and offer more GSH flats for sale.

The GSH is a scheme to sell certain apartments at affordable prices to tenants of public housing so that the tenants can turn into home owners.

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