Developers have shown keen interest in a luxury residential site in Ho Man Tin, with its tender attracting 13 bids.
A commercial site in Ma On Shan, however, received just eight bids, said a spokesman for the Lands Department.
Vincent Cheung Kiu-cho, a national director of greater China at consultant Cushman & Wakefield, said: "Developers mostly prefer residential sites in urban areas near MTR lines and infrastructure projects. They are less keen on commercial sites unless they are in prime areas."
Cheung Kong, Sun Hung Kai Properties, Sino Land and Henderson Land Development submitted bids for both sites. Kerry Properties, Chinachem, K Wah International, New World Development, Wing Tai Properties, Wheelock Properties and Asia Standard International made bids for the Ho Man Tin site, while Wang On and a consortium of Paliburg and Regal Hotels International submitted bids for the Ma On Shan site.
The 83,033 square foot Ho Man Tin site at the junction of Fat Kwong and Sheung Foo streets could fetch between HK$3.8 billion and HK$4.38 billion. It could yield a maximum gross floor area of about 387,741 sq ft.
The Ma On Shan site, next to a housing estate, could provide a gross floor area of 164,366 sq ft. Worth between HK$600 million and HK$1.31 billion, it could house a hotel or a shopping mall.
The government is trying to ease housing supply by increasing land availability. But the number of flats awaiting the Lands Department's approval for pre-sale at the end of last month was at its highest level since October 2002.
According to Midland Realty, 14,975 flats are waiting for approval. Only one project in Yuen Long, with 236 flats, was cleared last month.
Midland chief analyst Buggle Lau Ka-fai said the number of flats seeking pre-sale approval rose 38.5 per cent in the first five months of the year but those that were approved fell 41.1 per cent.
"The government should speed up the processing. More new projects would then be able to come on the market," Lau said.
A government spokesman said developers had to meet new requirements to win approval.
Fewer projects have been launched because of the new rule on selling new homes.
Lai Sun Development has told the Sales of First-hand Residential Properties Authority that Ocean One, its new project in Yau Tong, would not be relaunched for sale on Wednesday as there were errors in its brochure.
It is the seventh new project that has to amend its sales brochure after the new law came into effect on April 29.
Chinachem also suspended sales of the remaining five flats at Hong Kong Garden and would lease them out instead.