Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Development, Mr Eric Ma, at the question-and-answer session of the media session today (June 23) on the quarterly land sale programme for July to September 2017:
Reporter: We have concerns about Chinese developers bidding for Hong Kong land, and concerns about the size of flats, the "nano flats", the "micro-flats" and concerns about property prices, any plans to impose restrictions on residential lands that you are going to sell?
Secretary for Development: As I mentioned before, the most important is that the flats are designed and delivered for Hong Kong residents, and I think this is the most important part of the issue. We will not have restrictions on the source of funding and also the origins of those companies or developers involved in the property market. And secondly, referring to your concerns about what we call the small-size flats, we will closely monitor the situation and we need to strike a reasonable balance between the demand of the private sector and also the users. Some of them may need to have small flats to accommodate those families of smaller sizes. So we will closely monitor the situation and if necessary we can impose conditions on minimum flat size as before.
Reporter: On the supply issue, as you have mentioned and as the Government has repeatedly said that there is a need to roll out more blocks for development, but why is it that during this coming quarter, the number of blocks and number of units provided are still less than the previous ones, and how do you aim to address the problem so that housing will become more affordable for the public?
Secretary for Development: As I mentioned earlier, our target for housing land supply is to provide a steady and sustained supply of land for private developments. So we have to make reference to various supply sources, including the private developments and redevelopments. So as you can see in the first half of the year, we have achieved about 89 per cent of the housing (land) target for the private flats (for this financial year). So we almost meet that target, and certainly we will closely monitor the situation, and if necessary we can make adjustment to the programme, at any time.
Reporter: Secretary, what do you say to the members of the public who might feel that when rolling out these blocks that still take years to develop the units that you mentioned, what do you say to them? What are the short-term measures to really help them climb up the property ladder?
Secretary for Development: I think we need to look back, looking at the last five years, land available to the market had a capacity of 85 000 units (should be about 95 860 units), which is slightly above the target. And there is a lag, the time lag between the sales of land plots and the completion of those units. Normally it takes about three to four years, and some of them may be longer, about five years. So as you can see, those land plots put up for sale at the beginning of this term, in the 2012-13 financial year is now close to completion. So now you can see the completion of these land plots we put up for sale at the beginning of the term. And you can see progressively, the supply will be increased following the increase of efforts in land supply in the last five years. So I think in the coming years you can see the impact or the coming of more completion of those units.
Reporter: So no short-term measures to help them at this moment?
Secretary for Development: We are talking about the long-term land supply.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Friday, June 23, 2017
Issued at HKT 20:23