Hong Kong's 'sandwich class' flats are in the spotlight as buyers snap up Tsing Yi abode for fear of missing out on property bull run

By Pearl Liu pearl.liu@scmp.com / https://www.scmp.com/business/article/3009092/sandwich-class-flat-tsing-yi-sells-record-us12-million-hong-kong?utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=contentexchange&utm_source=EdgeProp | May 8, 2019 11:48 AM SGT
Hong Kong homebuyers, desperate to get their hands on property after a short-lived price correction, are chasing real estate in an obscure segment of the market as a bull market takes hold.
On Monday, a 706 square feet flat at the 24-year-old Tivoli Garden in Tsing Yi, New Territories, was sold for HK$10 million (US$1.27 million), or HK$14,164 per sq ft, making it the most expensive unit converted from government funded abodes under the Sandwich Class Housing Scheme.
In the early 1990s, the government introduced a programme targeting citizens whose income level exceeded the public rental housing threshold but could not afford to buy Home Ownership Scheme flats. The group was dubbed "sandwich class".
More than 12,000 units were offered in 10 estates under the scheme, which are spread across Kowloon and the New Territories.
An aerial view of Tsing Yi. Photo: Winson Wong
Bel Air Heights in Kowloon's Diamond Hill was the last project completed under the scheme in 1999. The income cap for a single applicant in the project was HK$22,000 per month and personal assets of less than HK$400,000, while for a family of two or more the income range was HK$31,000 to HK$60,000 and assets of less than HK$1.2 million.
In Hong Kong, government funded flats usually sell below the prevailing rate on the open market. But these flats have become highly sought after, pushing their prices to record highs.
"Buyers are flocking to the market," said Derek Chan, research head of Ricacorp Properties. "It doesn't matter whether it is private homes, lived-in homes or even government subsidised ones. They are buying."
The previous record of HK$9.85 million for a 712 sq ft flat in the same estate was set in August...