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Government announces quarterly land sale programme for January to March 2014

     The Government announced today (December 18) that it will sell by tender 12 residential sites and one commercial site in the fourth quarter of this financial year (i.e. January to March 2014), which are capable of producing about 5,500 flats and providing about 18,000 square metres of commercial floor area.

     The Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, said,"In the next quarterly land sale programme, the Government will sell the greatest number of sites and provide the highest flat production capacity since the launch of quarterly land sale programmes in 2011. This fully demonstrates the Government's resolve to increase housing land supply."

     The 12 residential sites to be put up for sale in the coming quarter are located in Sha Tin (two sites), Peng Chau (one site), Wong Chuk Hang (one site), Tuen Mun (one site), Sai Kung (one site), Tai Po (two sites), Shau Kei Wan (one site), Kai Tak (one site) and Tin Shui Wai (two sites).

     The two sites in Tin Shui Wai, i.e. Tin Shui Wai Areas 112 and 115, are newly added to the 2013-14 Land Sale Programme (LSP). They were originally planned by the Hong Kong Housing Society (HKHS) for providing short-term elderly community facilities and a vocational training centre, and pursuing the Integrated Elderly Community Project. However, after considering a host of factors, the HKHS gave up the projects and returned the two sites to the Government for alternative uses. Upon review, both sites are considered suitable and ready for private residential development. The Government has thus included them in the 2013-14 LSP and will put them up for sale in the next quarter.

     "Apart from responding to the pressing market demand for private housing land, the sale of the two Tin Shui Wai sites will help provide a more balanced housing mix and choices for North Tin Shui Wai, which is currently dominated by public housing," Mr Chan said.

     To better ensure the quantity of flat supply, the Government will require developers to provide a specified minimum number of flats at four sites in Tuen Mun (one site), Kai Tak (one site) and Tin Shui Wai (two sites), which together will produce about 3,240 flats. The Lands Department (LandsD) will announce the details before these sites are tendered.

     In addition to residential sites, one commercial site in Cheung Sha Wan will be tendered in the same quarter to meet the demand for commercial floor space.

     Mr Chan also gave an overview of the land sale in 2013-14. Starting from the current financial year, the Government has abolished the Application Mechanism to fully resume the lead in selling government land. The 2013-14 LSP announced in February 2013 originally included 46 residential sites capable of producing about 13,600 flats; nine commercial/business sites capable of providing about 330,000 square metres of commercial floor area; and one hotel site capable of providing about 300 rooms.

     In early 2013, the Government indicated that it planned to sell all the residential sites included in the 2013-14 LSP, including 22 sites which would be sold after the completion of amending the relevant Outline Zoning Plans, with a view to increasing housing land supply to the greatest extent. Over the past year, the Government has implemented a number of measures to identify additional housing sites, including the review of land uses to identify suitable sites for housing development. With the concerted efforts of the relevant departments, the Government announced in June 2013 that six new residential sites would be added to the 2013-14 LSP, while three sites in Shek Mun, Sha Tin in the LSP would be re-allocated for public housing. In addition, the two aforementioned residential sites in Tin Shui Wai have just been included in the 2013-14 LSP.

     Mr Chan said, "After two rounds of adjustments, 36 residential sites were sold and will be put up for sale in 2013-14, which can provide about 13,700 flats, which is on a par with the flat production capacity (i.e. 13,600 flats) of the 46 residential sites in the LSP announced in February 2013. The number of flats which can be built on government sites sold/to be sold in this financial year will exceed that of 2012-13 by about 5,000. It will set a record high flat production capacity of sites sold in the annual LSPs since 2000-01, fully demonstrating the Government's resolve and achievements in increasing housing land supply."

     In 2013-14, the Government sold and will put up for sale a total of four commercial/business sites in Ma On Shan, Kowloon Bay, Kwun Tong and Cheung Sha Wan, which together could provide about 147,000 square metres of commercial floor area, and sold the Murray Building hotel site in Central, which can provide about 300 rooms.

     Railway property development projects are an important source of private housing land supply. Regarding the West Rail property development projects, apart from the one at Long Ping Station (South), which was successfully tendered out in June 2013 and can provide about 720 flats, the Government is working with the MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL) on the revised scheme of the property development project at Yuen Long Station. The Government is consulting local people and will proceed with the statutory planning procedure after consultation.

     As for its own property development projects, the MTRCL indicated in August 2013 that it planned to re-tender the projects at Tai Wai Station and Tin Shui Wai Light Rail Terminus and tender the LOHAS Park Package 4 project within this financial year, which could provide about 2,900, 1,500 and 1,600 flats respectively, subject to market conditions.

     Other sources of private housing land supply include the redevelopment projects of the Urban Renewal Authority (URA), projects subject to lease modification/land exchange and private redevelopment projects not subject to lease modification/land exchange.

     Progress on tendering URA projects is affected by a number of factors, including whether land can be resumed as scheduled. The URA is reviewing the tendering progress of each project and will invite tenders for the projects as soon as they are ready. Earlier this month, the URA had just invited interested parties to submit Expressions of Interest for a development project on Shun Ning Road in Sham Shui Po. It is expected that tenders for the project will be invited in early 2014.

     As projects subject to lease modification/land exchange and private redevelopment projects not subject to lease modification/land exchange are market-driven, it is inappropriate to predict the annual situation based on figures of individual quarters at present. In recent months it has been noticed that developers have adopted a more conservative approach when discussing with LandsD on lease modification/land exchange. The Government will, when announcing the 2014-15 LSP in early 2014, give an account of the 2013-14 private housing land supply from various sources.

     "The Government will continue to closely monitor the market situation and steadily supply housing land to the market in a proactive manner to meet market demand," Mr Chan said.

     The list of the sites to be tendered from January to March 2014 is attached. The LandsD will separately announce the detailed land sale arrangements before individual sites are tendered.

Ends/Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Issued at HKT 19:42


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