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URA Board approves Ma Tau Wai Road/Chun Tin Street Project as “Starter Homes” Pilot Project

The Board of the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) today (Tuesday) approved to accept invitation from the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to assign the Ma Tau Wai Road/Chun Tin Street Project as a “Starter Homes” (SH) Pilot Project, to support the Government’s new initiatives on housing announced earlier.

The URA Board also approved authorising the Management of the URA to discuss with relevant policy bureaux and government departments over the next few months the implementation details of the Ma Tau Wai Road/Chun Tin Street SH Pilot Project, which will be submitted to the URA Board and Government for approval before the launch of the SH pre-sale exercise.

Chairman of the URA, Mr Victor So Hing-woh, remarked that the URA Board approved to assign the URA’s self-developed Ma Tau Wai Road/Chun Tin Street Project as a ‘Starter Homes’ Pilot Project with a view to helping the Government test out the Starter Homes concept as early as possible.  It also provides home-purchase choices and helps meeting home ownership aspirations for higher-income applicants or families who are not eligible for the Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) and yet cannot afford private housing. 

The major eligibility criteria proposed by the Government for applying the Ma Tau Wai Road/Chun Tin Street SH Pilot Project include:

  • Hong Kong residents who have lived in Hong Kong for seven years or more without subject to any condition of stay (except the condition on the limit of stay);
  • Have never owned any residential property in Hong Kong;
  • Income falls between the prevailing income limits for White Form (WF) applicants for HOS and 30% higher than such limits (with reference to the income limit of HOS Sale 2018, the monthly income limit of SH ranges between $57,001 and $74,100 for households with two or more persons; and between $28,501 and $37,050 for one-person households); and
  • Asset should not exceed the limit of 30% above the prevailing HOS asset limits for WF applicants (with reference to the asset limit of HOS Sale 2018, the asset limits of SH for two-or-more-person households and one-person households are $2.55 million and $1.28 million respectively).

In addition, the Government has set the discount rate for SH units to be 10% to 20% less than that decided for the preceding HOS sale exercise.  The URA will further formulate the application and implementation details in accordance with the initial framework set out by the Government on the major eligibility criteria and discount rate.  The URA will also appoint independent surveyor to assess the market value of SH units prior to the pre-sale exercise.  The URA will determine the latest “assessed market value” and discounted price of SH units according to the prevailing market situation before the pre-sale exercise for the approval of the Finance Committee of the URA Board and the Government.  The current estimated new flat price in the vicinity of Ma Tau Wai Road/Chun Tin Street Project is about $23,500 per square foot in saleable area.

The Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation will provide mortgage insurance cover for 30% or more of the property value as a special scheme for SH buyers.  Together with the mortgages with loan-to-value ratio (LTV) offered by banks, SH buyers can obtain mortgages of up to 90% LTV from banks.

The Ma Tau Wai Road/Chun Tin Street Project covers an area of about 29,000 square feet.  Having excluded the number of 3-bedroom units and those being set aside for former owner-occupiers of the Ma Tau Wai Road/Chun Tin Street Project who had registered interest to purchase a re-developed unit in the Project under the URA’s “Expression of Interest in Purchasing Arrangement”, a total of 450 units will be sold as SH units.  The SH units range from about 260 to 510 square feet in saleable area.  Taking into account the time required for preparatory work such as setting out detailed eligibility criteria, implementation details, lease modification, sales brochures and pre-sale preparation, it is estimated that the SH scheme will be open for application by the end of 2018 the soonest, and the Occupation Permit of the Project will be obtained in mid-2019.