Home Ownership Scheme
The Home Ownership Scheme (HOS; Chinese: 居者有其屋計劃) is a subsidized-sale programme of public housing in Hong Kong managed by the Hong Kong Housing Authority. It was instituted in the late 1970s as part of the government policy for public housing with two aims - to encourage better-off tenants of rental flats to vacate those flats for re-allocation to families in greater housing need; and also to provide an opportunity for home ownership to families unable to afford to buy in the private sector.
Under the scheme, the government sells apartment flats to eligible public housing tenants and to low-income residents at prices below the market level, with discounts usually between 30 and 40 percent,. It restricts resale of the units in the second-hand market to other families who qualify or, on the open market, after payment of a premium equal to the updated value of the discount given on the original purchase. As an ancillary scheme, the Housing Authority also entered into arrangements with local private developers to provide property for sale under the Private Sector Participation Scheme (PSPS).
Between 1995 and 2000, the Hong Kong Housing Society also offered the Sandwich Class Housing Scheme for lower middle class families whose incomes exceeded the Home Ownership Scheme requirements, but still had trouble affording private housing. In 2003, falling real estate values led the government to pause the construction of new Home Ownership Scheme estates indefinitely.
The first such plan was launched in 1978 and the first batch of flats became available in 1980, the first estates being Yuet Lai Court (悅麗苑) in Kwai Chung, Shun Chi Court (順緻苑) in Kwun Tong, Shan Tsui Court (山翠苑) in Chai Wan, Chun Man Court (俊民苑) in Ho Man Tin, Sui Wo Court (穗禾苑) in Sha Tin and Yue Fai Court (漁暉苑) in Aberdeen.
In 1987, forecasting that the demand for home-ownership was on the rise, the Government launched a plan to redevelop the older housing estates, and introduced a greater choice of apartments available for purchase by public housing tenants. A Home Purchase Loan Scheme was introduced with, initially, a quota of 2,000 loans of HK$50,000 interest-free to make the downpayment on their new private-sector homes.
In 2000, the scheme was caught up in a short-piling scandal which resulted in the resignation of Housing Authority Chief Rosanna Wong, and a censure for Housing Director Tony Miller. The construction of 2 blocks of Yu Chui Court in Sha Tin was delayed as it had to be demolished and rebuilt at an estimated cost of HK$250 million. The Wai Kee Group was implicated, and some of its companies were delisted from Government projects following the publication of the Strickland Report.
Public housing units in Home Ownership Scheme housing estates are subject to sale restrictions of the Housing Ordinance. The Home Ownership Scheme Secondary Market is only open to eligible low-income residents and low-income tenants of rental public housing. Three years after being assigned HOS public housing units, owners are allowed to obtain a certificate from the Housing Authority to place their homes in the HOS Secondary Market, without paying the subsidised land premiums (normally 35–50 per cent discount to the prevailing market). Owners who have sold their HOS public housing units will no longer be eligible for any form of public housing. In general, they are allowed after five years to apply to place their homes in the HOS Secondary Market without the paying subsidised land premium, or to apply for removal of sale restrictions by first paying the full subsidies and the land premiums to the Housing Authoritiy, as decided by the Director of Housing.
In 2002, developers complained of weakness in property prices, claiming the housing marketplace was largely distorted by excessive unfair competition from schemes such as the HOS. It was pointed out that a public rental tenant moving into a second-hand Home Ownership Scheme flat would receive three lots of subsidies. Government halted the PSPS, developments which were in progress at the time were either transformed into public housing, or sold off to private developers. Construction of new HOS estates was suspended in November 2002, and it was also announced that the TPS would end.
Hung Hom Peninsula controversy
One PSPS project, the 2,470 flat Hung Hom Peninsula built by New World Development and Sun Hung Kai Properties, was sold for a below-market land premium of HK$864 million to New World Development, who subsequently sold off half share to Sun Hung Kai Properties. In 2004, the consortium announced the demolition of these buildings to make way for luxury apartments, to be faced with huge popular outcry about the needless destruction of "perfectly good buildings" to satisfy "corporate greed". In an unprecedented about-turn, the developers withdrew the plan on 10 December 2004.
- Discount of 37 pc for flat buyers, South China Morning Post, 28 March 1992
- $20b plan to solve housing problem, To Chi-hak & Esme Lau, The Standard (Hong Kong), 9 April 1987
- Big rush for new release of HOS flats, Ng Kang-Chung, South China Morning Post, 18 December 1991
- Kwok, Lilian (4 July 2000). "Firm to be sued for piling faults". The Standard. Hong Kong. Retrieved 29 January 2007.
- Stephen Brown, Shackles off ... it's time for real reform, The Standard (Hong Kong), 14 November 2002
- Lord, Paris (5 November 2002). "In search of a homes revival". The Standard. Hong Kong. Retrieved 29 January 2007.
- Paris Lord, In search of a homes revival, The Standard (Hong Kong), 5 November 2002
- Colum Murphy and Sylvia Hui (3 December 2004). "Legislation to block flats demolition ruled out". The Standard. Hong Kong. Retrieved 10 August 2008.
- Ng, Michael & Teddy (11 December 2004). "Demolition of Hung Hom flats scrapped". The Standard. Hong Kong. Retrieved 10 August 2008.
- Information by Hong Kong Housing Authority
- "History of Home Ownership Scheme", City University of Hong Kong website
- Hong Kong Place, (Chinese) part I, part II