SDEV speaks on land sale programme

Following is a transcript of remarks (English portion) by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, today (December 21) on the land sale programme from January to March next year:

Reporter: Appreciate it if you would highlight the more interesting sites selected and explain why you selected these sites for the next quarter.

Secretary for Development: I am announcing at this juncture, despite the very encouraging and positive results of the land sale programme initiated by the Government so far this year, we will continue to sell sites in the last quarter of 2011-2012. Just to recap, in the first three quarters of this year, taking account of the two sites which are now or about to go under tender, the Government would have sold a total of 22 residential sites. Together with the West Rail sites which we own and the Mass Transit Railway Corporation is tendering for us, that is the Nam Cheong site earlier on and the two Tsuen Wan 5 sites, we would have already supplied a total of 14,000 units into the market. Adding to that will be housing land projects carried out by the Urban Renewal Authority and the Hong Kong Housing Society, those lease modifications undertaken by the private developers as well as urban redevelopment projects undertaken by private developers. I am happy to announce that we have fully met the Chief Executive's target of an average supply of 20,000 private housing units on an annual basis. In the first three quarters of this year, we have already met that target.

But in order to demonstrate that we remain very committed to continue to supply land in a very steady basis into the market to meet the housing demand, we have selected a total of six sites from the Application List for Government-initiated sale in the final quarter of 2011-2012, that is from January to March next year. The six sites comprise five residential sites and one business site. The business site is located in Tin Shui Wai, which is one of the designated sites for direct sale I announced in February this year. I very much hope that through the development of this Tin Shui Wai site we'll be able to inject some economic activities into the Tin Shui Wai new town. As far as the five residential sites go, four of them are actually low-density housing sites located respectively in Repulse Bay, Clear Water Bay in Sai Kung, outlying island Peng Chau and a low-density site in Tuen Mun. The more sizeable site among the five residential sites is a residential site in Ap Lei Chau in the Southern District. The five sites together will not provide a huge supply. I now estimate that perhaps the five sites together will provide about 430 flats, which is a modest figure. But taking into account what we have done already so far, I think this is a very good initiative to continue the momentum of supplying land into the market.

Reporter: Will the declining economy in the coming year affect your plan?

Secretary for Development: So far, all the sites that we have put onto the market were taken up by developers. The best indicator is there is still this market demand for housing sites as well as hotel and business sites. As far as we are concerned, the Chief Executive is very serious and very concerned about steady supply of land to meet housing demand. So I really don't think that we should take any abrupt decision to stop the land supply programme. Of course, we will be watching very vigilantly developments in the market and the economy. That's why you have to wait a while to see what we will have to say in next year's land sale programme. But so far, we feel that because housing units will not be produced until three or four years down the road, the best approach perhaps is still to continue to supply land.

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


Ends/Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Issued at HKT 20:11