Editorial : Threshold of mortgage insurance

【明報專訊】FINANCIAL SECRETARY PAUL CHAN's remark that "it can be explored and supported" has fueled rumours about the government planning to lower the threshold of mortgage insurance. Sky-high housing prices in Hong Kong make it difficult for some young people whose monthly incomes are high to "climb on the bandwagon" because they cannot afford the down payments. It is not a bad thing for the government to want to help young people to become homeowners, but relaxing mortgage restrictions involves risks and may trigger property-price surges and even offset the effect of relaxing the restrictions. Should there be a 10% downturn in property prices, young first-time home buyers may become negative-equity owners. Relaxing mortgage restrictions may be a healthy dose, but it may also be a self-defeating move. The government must give the matter ample thought. It must act with prudence and not with undue haste.