The Hong Kong government on Tuesday rejected all five bids received for a 1.3 million square feet residential site in Tuen Mun, the first to be subject to a 280 sq ft minimum flat size requirement , as all tenders were below the reserve price. “All five tenders received for the sale of a residential site in Tuen Mun town lot no. 561 at Castle Peak Road – Tai Lam, Tuen Mun, have been rejected as their tendered premiums did not meet the government’s reserve price for the site,” the Lands Department said in a statement. “The government will not sell a site if no bid reaches the reserve price as assessed by the government’s professional valuers. This is to ensure that the government gets a fair and reasonable return in the interest of protecting public revenue.” Bids were submitted by Sun Hung Kai Properties, Henderson Land Development, Sino Land Company, K Wah International Holdings and CK Asset Holdings. With the government introducing the minimum size requirement for all private flats in February, the site was estimated to yield 2,020 units. Surveyors from Centaline had expected the parcel to fetch between HK$7.1 billion (US$905 million) and HK$9 billion, or HK$5,500 to HK$6,900 per square foot. “Notwithstanding the cancellation of this tender, the government will continue to apply the minimum flat size requirement to government land sale sites, railway property development projects and projects of the Urban Renewal Authority,” a spokesman for the Development Bureau said. This was being done with the aim of enhancing living space and responding to the aspirations of society, he added. Over the last five years, the government had put 70 sites for tender, of which six, including the Tuen Mun parcel, were cancelled due to bids being below the reserve prices, the Lands Department said. The previous five cancelled tenders involved four commercial sites and one residential plot. One of the commercial sites and the residential site were subsequently successfully re-tendered. The other three commercial sites are undergoing re-zoning procedures for residential use. Hong Kong buyers pile into Sun Hung Kai’s new flats in Tuen Mun on hopes of a speedy recovery As the tenders received for the Tuen Mun site were lower than expected, it shows that the five developers had bid conservatively and, therefore, did not meet the government’s reserve price, said Cyrus Fong, senior director, valuation and advisory at Knight Frank. He said that the government and developers were likely to shrug off this disappointment as the outlook for the residential market was optimistic. “Looking forward, there are quite a lot of residential sites of various sizes that will be available for tender,” Fong said.