Real estate developers' group has clear definition of gross floor area
I refer to the articles 'Hong Kong's incredible shrinking flats revealed' and 'Grand illusions', (September 27).
The first article said: 'While the government has endorsed guidelines issued by the Real Estate Developers Association concerning the definition of a home's saleable area, no attempt has been made to standardise definition of gross floor area ... meaning developers are free to include whatever they want in a building's common area'.
In the second article you said: 'The only thing that does appear clear is that the definition of 'common areas' differ widely from building to building.'
These allegations are misleading. I gave an interview to the Sunday Morning Post about a month ago. If I had not made myself clear then, I would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight.
Firstly, our association has a clear definition of gross floor area (GFA) which is being adopted by all our members. The GFA of a flat is the sum of its saleable area, the area of its bay window and air-conditioning plant room, if any, and its apportioned share of common area. And the breakdown of GFA is clearly shown in the sales brochures and price lists issued by our members.
Secondly, developers cannot include whatever they want in a building's common area. It is true that the make-up of the common area may differ from one development to another. For example, some may have clubhouse facilities while others may not, but it should be noted that all common areas are defined by the building plans and the deed of mutual covenant, both of which are subject to government approval.
Finally, under our Guidelines for Sale of Uncompleted Residential Properties, our members are required to state clearly in their sales brochures pertinent information concerning their project, including GFA, saleable area, floor plan, floor to floor height and internal fittings and finishes. We believe clarity and transparency are the best safeguards for consumer protection.
Louis Loong, secretary general, the Real Estate Developers Association of Hong Kong