Following is a question by the Hon Emily Lau and a written reply by the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (April 27):
The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority pointed out in his article, published on the 3rd of last month, that there was an oligopoly in the supply of landed property. Some real estate developers agree to this view and have pointed out that most of the private lands which are available for development are held by a few real estate developers. In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council:
(a) of the areas and amounts of the premiums of the various pieces of land sold by auction in the past three years, and the names of the successful bidders;
(b) whether they know the numbers of pieces of land currently held by various real estate developers and the total areas of their respective land stocks; if so, of the details;
(c) whether they have assessed the severity of the problem of oligopoly in the supply of landed property, and of the measures to prevent the problem from worsening; and
(d) of the measures to address the problem of oligopoly, and whether a fair competition law will be enacted for this purpose?
My reply to the four-part question is as follows:
(a) The size of, the land premiums and the names of the successful bidders for the sites auctioned in the past three years are set out at annex.
(b) The information which the Government has got is no more than the land holdings of real estate developers' published in their respective annual reports.
(c) & (d) The Government believes that the best way to promote competition is to allow the free play of market forces with minimum intervention as far as possible. Real estate developers compete freely and openly in the property development sector. The Government does not restrict the number of entrants to the market, nor impose any barrier to entry or competition. Regarding property development and flat supply, any developers who are interested, irrespective of their size, may participate and the competition is keen. At present, Government's policy is to supply land of various size and use through the Application List System, so that all interested developers can participate in real estate development under the principle of openness and fairness. There is no oligopoly in the supply of property. In this respect, the Government has no intention to enact legislation on fair competition for the property development sector.
Ends/Wednesday, April 27, 2005