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The resumption of the Housing Society's subsidized flat sales early next year is expected to receive an enthusiastic reception from the market amid sustained demand, real estate agents said.

The society, a non-government statutory organization which aims to provide residents in the territory with housing and other relevant services, plans to resume the sale of the first phase of 576 flats at Kingston Terrace in Tuen Mun under its subsidized housing scheme.

The flats will be pitched at between HK$1,300 per square foot to HK$1,400 psf, or between HK$800,000 and HK$1.3 million each.

"There is still robust demand for subsidized flats in the New Territories which are more affordable," Properties Agency said.

The price is nearly half of those in large-scale new projects in Tuen Mun.

The Sherwood residential project in Tuen Mun, developed by Henderson Land, was put on the market early this month at an average price of about HK$2,500 psf.

The project caters mainly to first-time buyers.

The price compared with the prevailing prices in the secondary market of about HK$2,000 psf.

Yeung Ka-sing, the newly appointed chairman of the Housing Society, a nonprofit-making body, said Kingston Terrace prices should be within the spending power of residents in the area, especially public housing tenants.

The flats, which were completed four years ago, have been on hold because of a government moratorium on subsidized home sales as part of efforts to stabilize tumbling home prices.

The moratorium is due to be lifted early next year.

Kingston Terrace, located in King San Path near the Tuen Mun light-rail network, has four blocks with a total of 1,152 flats. The remaining 576 apartments will be available for sale in 2008. The flats measure between 600 square feet and 800 sq ft each.

Property Agency said the release of Kingston Terrace flats will not exert pressure on the residential home market in Tuen Mun, as the subsidized flats cater mainly to buyers with limited money.

The agency said there is also a slight difference in quality.

Separately, the Housing Authority will in January start selling the first batch of 3,056 home- ownership-scheme flats at housing projects including Kingsford Terrace Stage I in Wong Tai Sin, Yu Chui Court Stage III in Sha Tin and Tin Fu Court in Tin Shui Wai at prices ranging from HK$1,010 psf to HK$2,420 psf.

Prices will be based on the market value of similar private residential developments in the vicinity and will include a 30 percent discount.

Property Agency also said the resumption of HOS flat sales may attract some first-time buyers from the private housing sector but the sales would have little impact on the mass residential market.

The government's 16,641 completed but vacant home ownership scheme units represent another potential supply source in the medium term.

Among the bigger estates due for sale are Kingsford Terrace with 2,010 flats; Yau Mei Court Phase 3 in Kowloon East with 1,480 flats; Kam Fung Court in Ma On San with 1,892 flats; Yu Chui Court in Sha Tin with 1,489 flats and Tung Tao Court in Hong Kong East with 1,216 flats.

The focus of market attention is Kingsford Terrace, real estate agents said.

In 2004, the Housing Authority bought back the Wong Tai Sin subsidized flat project from developer New World Development for HK$1.44 billion.

NWD managing director Henry Cheng Kar- shun said the price tags for the HOS projects are unlikely to affect prices at the former HOS project Hunghom Peninsula owned by NWD and Sun Hung Kai Properties with a total of 2,470 flats.

The Hung Hom project is expected to come on stream for sale this month or early next year.

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