Transcript of SDEV's remarks

Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, at a media session today (April 5) after attending a radio programme:
Reporter: Mr Chan, would you comment on the "Hong Kong Land (Property) for Hong Kong People" scheme?

Secretary for Development: As with all lands sold by the Government, there is a standard condition saying that within five years from the day of land grant, the developer cannot apply for lease modification. That doesn't mean that after the five years, when a developer applies for lease modification, such application will be automatically approved. That is not the case. The Lands Department will examine each and every lease modification on its own merit, taking into full consideration of the government policy in that respect. And I must clarify that the government policy in respect of the pilot scheme for the "Hong Kong Property for Hong Kong People" (HKPHKP) remains unchanged. The buyer must be a holder of Hong Kong Permanent Identity Card. And this restriction also applies to subsequent resale of such residential flats within the validity period of 30 years from the day of land grant.
Reporter: There is still a major house shortage, and a lot of lawmakers said that this may not be the time to pull back the scheme. What do you have to say about this?

Secretary for Development: We must consider the background of the HKPHKP scheme. At that time, the proportion of non-Hong Kong buyers in the Hong Kong's property market was quite high. But after launching the demand-side management measures since February last year, non-Hong Kong residents buying Hong Kong properties have dropped substantially. On average the number accounts for only about two per cent of the overall transactions. There is no urgent need at this stage to continue with this scheme. When we launched the two sites in Kai Tak, the relevant lease conditions have already been properly drawn up with legal advice, so it would be very easy for us to apply these conditions to other sites when there is the need.

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

Ends/Saturday, April 5, 2014
Issued at HKT 16:15