Hong Kong homebuyers hail 'honest' sales law

But some customers still trying to get used to new way of presenting saleable areas of flats

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 April, 2013, 4:50am

Homebuyers have embraced a new law requiring developers to promote sales in a more transparent and honest way, although some said the provisions, which came into effect yesterday, were still unfamiliar.

At the same time, the director of the Sales of First-hand Residential Properties Authority, Eugene Fung Kin-yip, said it was a good sign that the new law had halted most sales of new homes, as many developers withdrew their sales brochures and were reworking them.

It is good that developers attach high importance to complying with the rules. I see they are launching the sales in an orderly manner

"It is good that developers attach high importance to complying with the rules. I see they are launching the sales in an orderly manner," Fung said.

One potential buyer said after seeing display flats of Hong Kong Ferry's Green Code project yesterday that developers "will no longer be able to exaggerate the features of their projects. They used to offer exaggerated information on the environment, the material used and flat size."

However, she said, she still had not got used to the information about saleable area, "which means now I don't know the efficiency rate of a flat".

One of the changes under the new rule is that developers are prohibited from mentioning the gross floor area of new flats in their sales brochures and price lists. Only the "saleable area", which refers to the internal flat space, balcony, utility platform and verandah, can be promoted.

Another flat viewer said he found developers offered clearer and more detailed information under the new rules.

"Apart from the sales brochure, we're also been given documents on the sales arrangement," he said. "Before, we needed to rely on the estate agent for all information."

Green Code is the first project to go on sale under the new law.

Fung said it was not empowered to order a developer to suspend sales should a breach be found, but the penalties available ranged from fines to a seven-year jail term. "If we've found any serious breach in the sales materials, we will disclose the case on our website to alert buyers," he said.

Donald Cheung Ping-keung, an executive director at Emperor International, said some stipulations under the new law, such as listing the model number of electrical appliances a flat came equipped with, were "not convenient" for developers.