Affordable housing income limits worry old applicants

Monday, July 19, 2010
Issue 1066, Page 3
Word count: 384
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

A few residents who have been on the affordable housing waiting list for years handed in a petition to the Government yesterday, fearing that the new income limits may have them removed from the list.

They plan to go to the Housing Bureau at 3pm on Wednesday to meet with officials and demand clarifications from them.

The Government suggested imposing income ceilings on affordable housing applications and one-person households’ cap is at MOP12,000. But the amendments in the legislation are yet to be finalised.

Representative Mrs Leong told reporters that the new income limits are “unfair” to people who have already been waiting for an affordable housing unit for least year six years.

“We have already passed the assessment and been qualified at that time. After so many years we know that we may finally have a chance to buy affordable housing in 2012 but then suddenly the Government wants to introduce a MOP12,000 income cap, which may kick us out from the list,” she said.

Mrs Leong said they hoped that the new income requirements will not be imposed on the old waiting list.

Meanwhile, another representative Mr Ho said setting the cap at MOP12,000 is unrealistic.

“The income ceiling is too low given the current conditions of Macau,” he said. “We were given a life imprisonment that we have no idea when we will be allocated affordable housing.”

Mrs Leong agreed: “Many people earn more than that [MOP12,000] nowadays in Macau but even though they do they still can’t afford to buy an apartment in the private property market.”

Lawmaker Ng Kuok Cheong, who accompanied the residents to the Government Headquarters, said it is “unreasonable” to assess old applicants’ eligibility again using new criteria, and that the old batch of applicants on the waiting list should be handled based on the original standards.

Ng also stressed that the Government has to be cautious in setting the income limits.

“Macau is in the period of rapid economic development and some people may be earning quite a lot these days, but this is not very stable,” he said.

“The Government can only tighten the income caps when it really has the capability to control the housing apply and no longer grants land at unjustifiably low premiums for high-rise residential buildings in Macau,” he added.

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