Hong Kong government set to miss its land release target for fiscal year

Figures suggest that government will have met 60pc of its target by the end of the year

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 September, 2013, 7:32pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 September, 2013, 3:34am

The government is set to miss its land release target for the fiscal year that aims to provide 13,600 flats throughout Hong Kong.

Eight residential and one commercial site will be released in the October-December quarter, enabling the construction of 3,300 flats, development secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said yesterday.

For the first three quarters as a whole, sufficient land will have been released on which to build only 8,200 flats, which is only 60 per cent of the government's target for the whole fiscal year. However, Chan was upbeat following the release of the latest Lands Department figures.

"We are relatively optimistic on meeting our target," he said. "There are 22 sites out of the 46 sites in the land sales programme for this financial year which need to get approval for rezoning. We are working on it. It takes time to complete town planning procedures. We expect there will be more sites available for release in the last quarter [from January to March next year]," he said.

The government has a separate target of 20,000 flats including railway projects.

Buggle Lau Ka-fai, chief analyst at Midland Realty, said he was not optimistic the government would release enough land to build 20,000 flats by March.

"It depends on whether the railway residential projects can be sold or not. They involve a higher investment cost. If you release the projects in a short period of time, they may have to be withdrawn as the developers turn cautious on land acquisitions."

Only one railway project has been released for tender so far.

Chan said the Lands Department was revising the residential project at Yuen Long station with the MTR Corporation. It is scheduled for tender in the next quarter.

Including other MTR projects - in Tai Wai, Tin Shui Wai and Tseung Kwan O - the railway-linked residential projects to be released in the final quarter could yield about 7,800 flats.

Among the sites for release in the quarter to December are three at Kai Tak. These sites will not come under the "Hong Kong property for Hong Kong people" scheme, as was the case with two previous Kai Tak sites.