I think I agree with your point but I don’t understand the framing — “taking advantage,” “gaming the system.” The HDFC system was created decades ago, and applies to a tiny number of residential units in the city (maybe 25,000). The criteria for buying one of these apartments is obviously sub-optimal, and as a result wealthy people with low-paying jobs are the obvious candidates for ownership. But this isn’t ‘gaming the system’ — it literally is the system.
As I’ve mentioned in previous comments on this site, housing interventions that do not increase the supply of units are inherently problematic. Programs like HDFC co-ops, rent stabilization, etc. all have the same core issue: they attempt to preserve affordability without actually changing the supply/demand dynamic that leads to increased rents and home prices. Designating a handful of co-ops ‘affordable’ (in the instance of HDFC) just pushes up the price of the remaining co-op stock, creating a minimal number of lucky homeowners (like the woman in the Times story) and marginally screwing over everyone else. If we want affordable housing, we need to build a lot more housing.