Land list 'shows supply may be running short'
Critics point out that most of new residential sites listed will not be ready for sale this year
Joyce Ng, Yvonne Liu and Paggie Leung
Twenty-three of the 28 residential sites added to this year's land-sale list will not be ready for sale until next year, raising concerns that the government is running out of stock for immediate land supply.
Including sites rolled over from last year, the list released yesterday includes a total of 46 residential sites, which could deliver 13,600 flats.
Of the new additions, the upmarket neighbourhood of Shouson Hill is considered the prime site, and is the only new site on Hong Kong Island. But the market has to wait until it is ready for sale in March 2014, at the end of this financial year.
The same date applies to the biggest site of all, the 5.89 hectare one in So Kwun Wat, Tuen Mun.
Most other new sites are not available much earlier, either, including the three sites at the former Kai Tak airport, which will be put on sale in January of next year at the earliest.
Lee Wing-tat, a former lawmaker who now runs concern group Land Watch, said he was worried about the late availability of so many sites.
"Why has the government brought in so many sites with such a remote date for sale? I wonder if the departments will be able to finish their work in time, as they are probably still doing technical studies and land-formation work," Lee said.
"It seems to me the government is running out of stock for the short-term land reserve."
The Shouson Hill site should be worth HK$30,000 to HK$35,000 per buildable square foot based on gross floor area, according to Vincent Cheung Kiu-cho of property consultancy Cushman & Wakefield.
The land-sale list, together with other sources of private housing including MTR projects, the Urban Renewal Authority and private redevelopments, will yield 25,900 units.
This is smaller than last year's yield of 29,800.
Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po said the government had already done its best to make more land available by putting sites onto the list as soon as they were identified as suitable for sale.
For the quarter from April to June, the government will sell seven sites rolled over from last year, located in Ho Man Tin, Tuen Mun, Sha Tin, Cheung Kwan O and Lantau Island.
Stewart Leung Chi-kin, chairman of the Real Estate Developers' Association, said: "It's good that the government doesn't flood the market with too much supply. It can put more sites up for sale later on, if it sees there is a shortage of supply."
The list also contains nine commercial sites, five of which are not available for sale until March 2014.