Hong Kong property

Victor Li’s CK Asset wants to help ease Hong Kong’s housing crisis by squeezing more flats into its projects

  • Property giant has applied to include more flats in its residential project in northern part of Hong Kong’s New Territories
PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 October, 2018, 7:31pm
UPDATED : Friday, 26 October, 2018, 7:32pm

CK Asset Holdings, the flagship developer of tycoon Li Ka-shing, believes it can help solve the housing crisis which has pushed Hong Kong’s property prices into the record books.

The city’s second largest developer by market capitalisation says allowing it to build more apartments at its residential projects in the north of Hong Kong would help meet pent-up demand in the world’s least affordable market.

It has applied to the planning authority to increase the plot ratio by 20 per cent at four sites it intends to build on in Kwu Tung, in the northern part of the New Territories. That would enable it to raise the build 2,200 residential units instead of 1,800.

“Recently, the call for an increase in land supply (to ease the shortage of homes ) in the city has been mounting. The group believes that among the many measures under discussion, increasing the plot ratio is one of the possible ways to rapidly increase the supply of housing,” CK Asset said in a statement released on Friday.

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It has become the latest industry participant to call for the relaxation of restrictions on plot ratio which, for residential properties, refers to the ratio between the gross floor area of a building and the area of the site it stands on. That, in effect, would increase the density of housing on a given plot.

“The group’s application will be in the interests of the more efficient use of land resources, accelerating the provision of more residential units to meet growing housing needs. We strive to contribute to solving the land problem in Hong Kong,” the statement said.

Hong Kong was named the least affordable city for an eighth straight year in an annual survey by Demographia released in January this year, with the median price of a home 19.4 times higher than the median annual pre-tax household income.

But the warning bell signalling a possible end to Hong Kong’s 15-year home-price rally has begun to ring louder, with an increasing number of property experts predicting a drop in prices. Some developers are suddenly struggling to garner sales despite starting to cut their prices .

Hong Kong home prices slipped in August for the first time since March 2016, a fresh sign that the property market could be heading for a prolonged downturn after a strong bull run.

To increase home ownership, the government has appointed a task force on land supply, which launched a public consultation addressing how to meet the city’s land shortfall. The consultation ended on September 26.

According to the CK Asset’s outline plan, the plot ratio of the four sites is currently 3.5 times, meaning about 1,800 residential units can be constructed. The total floor area is approximately 1.33 million square feet.

CK Asset now proposes to increase the plot ratio of the four sites by 20 per cent to 4.2 times.

The company said the application is supported by the fact a government unit, the Civil Engineering and Development Department, recently also applied for an increase in plot ratio by 20 per cent for a public housing development in the same district.