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New measure to enhance smooth operation of
Application List system announced


    The Government announced today (June 21) a new measure to enhance the smooth operation of the Application List system.

    Speaking at a press conference, the Director of Lands, Mr Patrick Lau, said that to facilitate the triggering of sites on the Application List for auction or tender, the Government had decided to adjust the triggering requirement under the Application List system, whereby a bid reaching at least 80% of our assessed Open Market Value (OMV) would be accepted as a trigger to initiate an auction or tender.  "To protect public revenue, the site will not be sold unless the highest bid meets or exceeds the OMV reserve price assessed on the day of auction/tender closing," Mr Lau said.  "This measure will take immediate effect."

    Since January, 2004, sale of government land has mainly been conducted under the Application List System.  A developer interested in any site on the Application List may submit an application to the Government for consideration.  The applicant must offer a minimum price to purchase the site, undertake to make a bid at the minimum price in the auction or tender, and pay a deposit.  If the price meets the OMV of the site assessed by government, the site will be triggered and put up for auction or tender.

    In March, 2005, the Government announced a number of measures to improve the efficiency and transparency of the operation of the Application List System.  These included simplifying the deposit requirement, requiring the formal Agreement with deposit to be submitted together with the initial application to trigger a site (thus achieving a saving of two weeks), shortening the period of public notice from three weeks to two, and to announce monthly on a site specific basis, the number of unsuccessful applications on Lands Department's website.  Developers have nevertheless expressed difficulties in triggering sites for sale.

    "In addition to the measures introduced in March this year, we believe easing of the triggering requirement will facilitate more successful triggers, potentially leading to more land sales and increased market activity," Mr Lau said.  "The number and frequency of successful triggers are expected to increase.  As the site will not be sold unless the highest bid meets or exceeds the OMV assessed on the day of auction or close of tender, there is no question of the Government selling land cheaply."

    "The Government reaffirms its policy of relying on the Application List system to provide land to meet the market demand.  The Application List is a market-driven system.  This is consistent with our economic philosophy of letting market forces thrive, with minimum government intervention," Mr Lau said.

Ends/Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Issued at HKT 17:31


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