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LCQ1: Land Sale Programme

Following is a question by the Hon Wong Sing-chi and a reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (March 9):

Question:

The Government announced its 2011-2012 Land Sale Programme (i.e. the Programme for the coming year) last month and indicated that the private residential sites in the coming year may supply up to 35,400 units.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) in respect of each of the 52 residential sites in the Land Sale Programme, for how long it has been rolled over and included in the Application List, its Building Covenant period and the estimated number of units that can be provided; given that the Government has estimated that if all the residential sites on the Application List for the coming year are sold, a total of 13,000 units can be provided, yet if a calculation is made on the basis that only 30% of the sites on last year's Application List were sold, together with the number of units to be provided by the residential development projects undertaken by the MTR Corporation Limited and the redevelopment projects undertaken by the Urban Renewal Authority, only a total of 21,700 units can be provided, which is still considerably below the Government's original estimation of 30,000 to 40,000 units, whether the authorities will designate more sites on the Application List for auctions initiated by the Government or for sale by tender;

(b) given that as the 32 residential sites on the 2010-2011 Application List originally available for auctions initiated by the Government or for application for sale within this month have to be rolled over to the Application List for the coming year, the relevant dates have been deferred to April or June this year, coupled with the fact that six new sites on the Application List for the coming year, which involve approximately 11 hectares of land covering about 24% of the total area of the sites on the Application List, will not be available for application for sale until March next year, and according to the rolling over arrangement currently adopted, these six sites will not in actual fact be available for application for sale until April next year or even later, these arrangements are therefore tantamount to reducing the number of sites available for application for sale within these two years, whether the authorities will expedite its work so as to designate more sites available before January next year for application for sale or for auctions initiated by the Government; and

(c) in respect of the sites on the Application List that are not sold, whether the authorities will consider switching the use of these sites to building Home Ownership Scheme flats or My Home Purchase Plan flats, so as to increase the provision of land confirmed for housing development, and reduce reliance on real estate developers' applications for land sale and bidding for land as well as on private redevelopment projects?

Reply:

President,

Before I formally reply to the three parts of the question, I need to reiterate that either the annual average figure of about 20,000 private residential flats put forward by the Chief Executive in the 2010-11 Policy Address, or the figure of 30,000 to 40,000 private residential flats mentioned by the Financial Secretary in the 2011-12 Budget Speech, or the estimated figure of 35,400 flats which I explained in detail at the press conference on the 2011-12 Land Sale Programme held on February 24, 2011, refers to the housing land that could be supplied to the market for private residential developments within a certain timeframe. They are not a target of private residential flat production. The aim is to build up a sufficiently large land reserve over a period of time to ensure stable land supply for the residential property market.

I reply to the three parts of the question as follows:

(a) The location, area, estimated earliest site available date (EEAD) and cumulative rollover time of the 52 residential sites in the 2011-12 Land Sale Programme are set out at Annex.

As the land sale conditions for each residential site in the 2011-12 Land Sale Programme are being prepared, we are unable to provide their "Building Covenant" periods. In general, the "Building Covenant" period for the development of residential sites ranges from 48 months to 72 months, the actual period of which depends on the complexity of the development. The "Building Covenant" period for each site will be set out in the land sale conditions.  The land conditions will be published on the website of the Lands Department when ready.

We estimate that the total number of flats that could be provided by the 52 residential sites is about 16,000. In fact, except the several sites on which we plan to impose restrictions on flat size or number when selling them, the flat number to be provided by each site sold by the Government in the end depends on the actual design of the development project. However, we have made certain assumptions in respect of the location and planning parameters of each site and estimated the number of flats they could provide. Due to the high sensitivity of the estimated number of flats for each site in the market, we consider it inappropriate to make public the relevant figures so as not to impact on the price of auction or tender.

At the press conference on the 2011-12 Land Sale Programme held on February 24, 2011, I made it clear that land for private housing developments could provide about 35,400 flats in the coming year.  This figure has consolidated different sources of land supply, namely Government land for sale by application and by tender, railway property development projects of the MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL), redevelopment projects of the Urban Renewal Authority, projects subject to lease modification/land exchange, and private redevelopment projects not subject to lease modification. But just as I mentioned earlier, this figure is not a fixed target for residential flat production in the coming year.

Nonetheless, to ensure a steady land supply for the residential property market to cater for the needs of housing and economic development, the Government will take a proactive and aggressive approach to sell land. This has been fully reflected in this year's Land Sale Programme and our discussions with MTRCL. In this year's Land Sale Programme, we have designated up to 18 sites for government-initiated sale in the coming year, including nine residential sites. MTRCL will also dispose of the sites at Nam Cheong, Tsuen Wan, Tai Wai, Tin Shui Wai and Tseung Kwan O.  In the coming year, the Government estimates that the land to be put up for sale by the Government or MTRCL could provide about 19,000 flats in total. Depending on the market situation, we do not preclude the consideration of designating more sites in the Application List (AL) for sale through government-initiated auction or tender.

(b) The EEAD of sites rolled over from the 2010-11 AL to the 2011-12 AL is April 2011 or June 2011.  The main reason for that is because the Lands Department needs to amend the relevant land sale conditions to incorporate the new requirements to control "inflated buildings" due for implementation from April 1, 2011.  As for the new sites in the 2011-12 AL, since various kinds of preparatory work need to be undertaken (e.g. rezoning, infrastructural works and drafting of land sale conditions, etc.), their EEADs are different. We have taken measures to expedite the availability of relevant sites. I quote the sites in Tseung Kwan O (TKO) Town Centre South as an example.  In order to supply more land as early as possible, we have requested the contractor to speed up the infrastructural works.  As a result, the completion date of such works for the four sites being TKO Area 66A, 66C1, 66D1 and 66B2 and the three sites being TKO Area 68A, 66C2 and 66D2 could be advanced from March 2012 to September 2011 and December 2011 respectively. This has enabled the supply of these two batches of sites to the market in the coming year.

As for another site being the eastern part of ex-North Point Estate which is zoned "Comprehensive Development Area", it involves the construction of certain community facilities, including a public transport terminus, a community hall, a public toilet, an at-grade open space and harbourfront promenade.  The Government will entrust the developer to construct the community facilities when it develops the residential site.  We will seek the funding approval from the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council as soon as possible so as to make available the site to the market as early as possible. The Development Bureau will closely monitor the relevant works with a view to supplying more residential sites as early as possible.

(c) The Government regularly reviews the best use of sites on the AL so as to optimise the utilisation of land resources. For instance, we have removed one residential site at Hospital Road when compiling the 2010-11 AL and designated it for university student hostel. In the 2011-12 AL, we did not roll over two sites located in Mui Wo and Lin Shing Road in Chai Wan respectively and have earmarked them for public rental housing.

The practice of designating housing land for other uses must comply with the existing policy. On subsidised housing, the Government is collaborating with the Hong Kong Housing Society to launch the "My Home Purchase Plan". The Government has already earmarked sites in Tsing Yi, Diamond Hill, Sha Tin, Tai Po, Tuen Mun and other areas for a total of some 5 000 flats to be built under the Plan. We will identify more suitable sites for the Plan, but we have no intention of earmarking the residential sites in the AL for this purpose.


Ends/Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Issued at HKT 16:06

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