Hongkongers are now eligible to own subsidised government housing in Shenzhen if they have family members residing in the southern Mainland Chinese tech hub.

The move comes after Shenzhen authorities lifted restrictions on home ownership to allow low-income families to enter the property market, according to a report in the South China Morning Post.

To qualify for the scheme, applicants must be Shenzhen hukou holders who have paid social insurance premiums for at least five years. They will then enter a 50:50 ownership scheme with the government, with the option of gaining complete ownership if they buy out the government’s share.

However, the scheme does not apply to existing Shenzhen homeowners or anyone who has sold property in the city during the course of the past five years.

An overhead view of housing units in Shenzhen. They are high-rises and dominate the city's skyline.
Housing units in Shenzhen (© CHUNYIP WONG via Canva)

Buyers approved for the scheme need to pay only 50% of the reference price of similar-sized units in the same district. They can, if they wish, sell half of the rights to other eligible applicants after five years.

Single residents or households with three or fewer members are eligible for a 65 sq. metre (700 sq. ft) unit, while households with four or more members qualify for a 85 sq. metre unit, according to a document released by the Shenzhen Housing and Construction Bureau last month.

The government has not yet revealed other details about the programme.

According to the 2023 Asia Pacific Home Attainability Index, Shenzhen is the second-most expensive housing market in the region at HK$85,179 (US$10,876) per square metre. Hong Kong is the most pricey at HK$154,819 (US$19,768) per square metre.

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However, the SAR comes second to Singapore in terms of buying private homes as the median home price in the territory returned to 2017 levels. This was attributed to a major increase in mortgage rates, a net population outflow, and a less optimistic view on the city’s property market.

Header image credits: Leung Cho Pan via Canva

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From the Middle East to the Far East and a couple of places in between, Anjali has lived in no fewer than seven cities in Asia, and has travelled extensively in the region. She worked as a lifestyle journalist in India before coming to Hong Kong, where her favourite thing to do is island-hopping with her daughter. You can check out her musings on motherhood, courtesy her Instagram profile.

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