The pricey sea view that doesn't last for long

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 June, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 June, 2009, 12:00am

You see the artist's impression of the new development offering lovely sea views and hand over a fat cheque to secure the flat. It could be money down the drain.

A green group warns that sales brochures often carry misleading images that tempt buyers into spending hundred of thousands of dollars extra for a view that will not last for long.

Green Sense says people are usually kept in the dark about how the area around an estate will be developed. Artists' impressions usually skip unfavourable details.

'Buyers will have their dreams shattered once they move in,' said president Roy Tam Hoi-pong.

A recent brochure for Lake Silver - a Sino Land estate in Ma On Shan - shows graphics of flats enjoying sea views and a backdrop of hills. But the view on most floors could be blocked by another estate, Henderson Land's Lok Wo Sha development.

Mr Tam said once Henderson reached a deal with the government on land premium, it could build at least 21 residential buildings.

According to a master layout plan submitted by the developer to the Town Planning Board, they will be between 10 and 32 floors. As the Lake Silver will reach 38 to 46 floors, most of its seas views would be blocked.

A Lake Silver flat on the 29th floor costs HK$3.57 million if facing the sea; HK$3.2 million if not. Sino Land did not respond to an inquiry by the South China Morning Post yesterday.

On the same estate, blocks furthest from the sea were usually sold first, Mr Tam said. This meant the developer could claim they had a sea view, although buildings built later would block the views.

Green Sense has demanded that developers include photographs of the surroundings of estates in their sales brochures, and that development plans within 200 metres of the estate should be revealed to buyers.

Lawmaker Alan Leong Kah-kit suggested the government build a three-dimensional model for the whole of Hong Kong, following Shanghai's lead, as a guide to density for potential buyers.

A spokesman for the Transport and Housing Bureau said sales brochures should include an approved outline zoning plan. The brochure for Lake Silver included such a plan, indicating development at Lok Wo Sha.