Hong Kong developers must exhaust land banks before being allowed to bid at auction
I applaud the opposing views taken by your columnists Alex Lo (“City’s property prices will not always go up”, July 14) and Yonden Lhatoo (“When home prices are so high, they become obscene”, July 15).
However, one important aspect of the discussion that is not touched upon often enough is the land banks held by Hong Kong’s major developers.
Presumably, the amount of land the government releases into auction each year corresponds to the potential number of flats to be built on the plot, which is then added into the government’s housing budget. By hoarding land, developers actually create both the housing shortage and inflated property prices.
This, together with buying land at lower prices and developing and selling the properties years later at overinflated prices, benefits the developers’ bottom line while contributing to the dissatisfaction and frustration of Hong Kong citizens (“With proper compensation, land resumption is both lawful and necessary” (May 15).
Before any talk of rezoning green and brownfield sites, country parks or even the golf courses at Fanling, the government must insist that developers begin building on their long-held land banks or return them to the government for re-auction and immediate development.
In addition, the government must not allow land-hoarding developers to bid for future sites until all the land they have been holding for five years or more has been developed.
Helen Cheung, Ho Man Tin