Land Sale Programme Comprises Mostly Luxurious Sites

Only 7 Sites “Genuine Housing Supply”

Even Less if Marketed as Luxurious Developments

22 Sites “Bogus Housing Supply”

Low Density Development or above HK$9000 per sq. ft.

60:40 Public Private Split of Housing Supply Non-scientific

Should Consider the Housing Policy of Singapore

“Bogus Housing Supply”? The Secretary for Development, Mr. Paul Chan, announced the new Land Sale Programme at the end of February, comprising 29 residential sites allegedly capable of providing about 16,000 flats. However, the devil is always in the details. How many of them are affordable flats?

Green Sense has analysed all sites in the latest Land Sale Programme and compared them with the recent and neighbouring second-hand property transactions. In our analysis, “Genuine Housing Supply” (i.e. affordable by the general public) and “Bogus Housing Supply” (i.e. Hard to afford or luxurious property) are differentiated by the following criteria: 1) whether the purchase price of a flat is HK$9,000 or above per square feet (saleable area); and 2) whether it is a low density development. Based on the analysis, we have estimated the purchase price of the flats of these 29 residential sites.

The research result reveals that only 7 out of 29 sites may have the purchase price of flats below HK$9,000 per square feet (saleable area). The price, at the end of the day, depends on whether or not the developers decide to package these sites as luxurious developments. The remaining 22 sites are mainly either of low density developments or likely to have flats priced at more than HK$9,000 per square feet (saleable area), which are unlikely to be affordable by the general public. We are of the opinion that these 22 sites are “Bogus Housing Supply”.

On one hand, the Government always alleges there is lack of land. On the other hand, it wastes so much land for developments which are unaffordable for the general public. The governmental policy for the public-private ratio of housing supply as 60:40 is not scientific. In fact, the Land Sale Programme is the main source for supply of housing for the general public. The Government should consider designating some of the sites in the Land Sale Programme for the Home Ownership Scheme, after taken into account the surrounding facilities and transportation. We suggest designating part of the site of Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks (Pak Shek Kok) as development under the Home Ownership Scheme, turning “Bogus Housing Supply” into “Genuine Housing Supply”.

There has been serious tension among the Government and the community and green groups because of the rezoning of Green Belt sites and Open Space. The Government should be focus on genuine housing supply but not casually dismiss or criticise the views of the local communities and the green groups. If there is no genuine housing supply after the rezoning, the sacrifice (including the ecology, the environment and the local culture) will be made for nothing. We sincerely hope that the Government will plan for affordable genuine housing supply, but not simply blames the members of the local communities or the green groups for its housing policy failure.