SDEV speaks on land sale programme

Following is the transcript of remarks (English portion) by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, speaking to the media today (June 10) on the land sale programme from July to September this year:

Reporter: Could you give more details on some of the sites? What are the criteria for choosing these sites? What will be your views on words suggesting that we are under an asset bubble?

Secretary for Development: I am not in a position to comment on asset bubbles. But in terms of land supply, as I have said, since the beginning of this year we have adopted a far more progressive attitude in supplying land to the market, whether it is for residential development or commercial development. So in the coming quarter from July to September we have selected a total of what we called "seven plus one" - seven sites from the Government Application List, and one big West Rail development site for disposal in the coming quarter.

Regarding the criteria for selecting the sites, first of all, it is the readiness. The site has to be ready before we can dispose of it. For example, the West Rail site: You will realise that together with the Mass Transit Railway Corporation, we are working very hard to prepare the revised scheme in compliance with the inflated building regulations. The work has completed and we are pretty confident that shortly the Town Planning Board will agree with the revised scheme and so the site will be ready for disposal.

The other criterion is of course to look at the market demand. So you will notice that, in this quarter, you might feel it is a bit strange that we are selling very small sites producing only a couple of houses. That is the market demand because we have seen very heated transactions in the high-end luxury house development market. And since Government has those readily available sites suitable for house development, there is no reason for us not to sell them.

At least, it will first respond to the market demand, and secondly it benefits the public coffers.

Reporter: Could you further speak about the seven sites ...

Secretary for Development: The seven sites that we have chosen from the Application List for disposal in the coming quarter include one site which was always intended for Government-initiated sale when I announced the land sale programme in February this year. That is the former Government Supplies Depot site on Oil Street in North Point. That is not a solely residential site. It is a mixed-use site which must provide a hotel. But of course the developer could use the remaining GFA (gross floor area) to build residential units. Then we have selected six additional sites from the Application List which have never been chosen for Government-initiated sale in previous years. These sites we could categorise into two parts. One is the luxury end - low density small sites that I referred to. They are in Stanley, South Bay and Sai Kung. The second category are the more sizeable sites which will meet market demand in terms of volume. They are in Sha Tin, Kau To and Hung Shui Kiu as well as Tseung Kwan O.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)


Ends/Friday, June 10, 2011
Issued at HKT 17:20