The final act of the Sino-British Land Commission was the granting of 98.76 hectares of building land, the greater part of which is acreage delayed because of the long wrangle over Container Terminal 9. What remains after that is very little: just over four hectares for subsidised housing, space for 200 luxury flats and almost 2.5 hectares for commercial/residential use. But, at a time of such an acute housing shortage, every metre is welcome. The Land Commission has not been an unqualified success. Thousands of would-be property owners will need a lot of convincing that either side of the body had the interests of ordinary people at the top of their agenda. What they have done is play into the hands of the developers, who profit from scarcity of land. If the commission had functioned efficiently, and if rigid restrictions had not been placed on it, the grossly overheated housing market might have been avoided, and speculators prevented from depriving genuine buyers of much-needed homes. After July, when the Special Administrative Region will take over responsibility for land allocation, the Government will be free to respond according to the requirements of the market, so greater sanity should prevail. Although the size of Hong Kong puts limits on how much land is available for building, the Government says there is plenty suitable for residential use in the New Territories. The first act of the new administration must be to utilise resources so that prices can settle at a realistic level. Home ownership will then cease to be an impossible dream for so many young couples, bringing an end to the get-rich-quick schemes of property speculators. Coupled with a policy of making property-owning public housing tenants give up subsidised flats to those in genuine need, the days of crisis should be limited. A stable property market should prevail.