Kai Tak Density Further Raised – Green Sense worries Walled Effect, suggests to increase HOS flats and ‘Hong Kong First-Timer Housing’

Authorities further raised Kai Tak residential density, criticized for enhancing walled effect and misusing land

Increased housing units turns to high-end flats – Property speculation as root of problem

Green Sense suggests to increase HOS flat supply – Private housing should be reserved for ‘Hong Kong first-timers’

The Hong Kong government has recently proposed amendments of the draft Kai Tak Outline Zoning Plan No. S/K22/5 (‘the OZP’) to the Town Planning Board, an act which would further raise residential density of the area, and would change the land use of two open space areas into residential use. The amendments involve a total of 16 sites, 5 of them close to the Kai Tak Airport apron area and the remaining 11 situated in the middle of the runway. Multiple mid-runway sites would have their Plot Ratios increased from 3.4 – 5.9 to 5.5 -7, while their height restrictions would be extended from 45-80 m to 95-120 m.

Green Sense expressed concern that the increase in residential density would lead to a “resurrection” of walled effect buildings, blocking ventilation in the Kowloon Bay Area, and re-enacting the faulty town planning of old.

Earlier in 2013, with the same reason to “increase housing supply”, the government has already increased the plot ratio of 4 sites (1 for HOS housing and 3 for private housing) in the apron area (the future Kai Tak City Centre) from 4.5-5 to 5.5-6. The three private housing lots were put up for sale, and their off-plan apartment prices ended up reaching HKD17000-24000 per square foot, far too high to be affordable by the middle class. The total of 12 land lots in the apron area were meant to provide 9000 housing units, but after 4 of them were sold to the Chinese conglomerate HNA Group Co. Ltd. at a sky-high HKD13000 per square foot, it was expected that apartments there would be sold as luxury homes at astronomical prices. On the other hand, One Kai Tak, occupying two land lots under the ‘Hong Kong Property for Hong Kong People’ policy, has also been recently put up for tendering with prices starting at HKD16000-25000 per square foot. Under such a laissez-faire private housing policy, the lots, despite a total area of 12 hectares, have failed to provide even one single affordable flat, and are thus a waste of land and housing units.

Now the government has failed to learn from previous mistakes and applied for further amendments of the OZP, boosting density of the remaining 16 sites. Authorises ignore the root of the problem is, in fact, property speculation. Increasing planned units would benefit no one but developers and speculators.

Lots Developers Land price
(HKD per sq ft)
Salesable area price (HKD per sq ft) No. of units
One Kai Tak / 1H(1) China Overseas 5428 16000-25000 545
One Kai Tak / 1H(2) China Overseas 4913 18000-30000 624
Victoria Skye / 1I(1) K&K Property 5600 Selling in this quarter 822
K.City /


K.Wah Group 5330 17000-24000 900
Vibe Centro /


Poly Property 6530 17000-24000 930
1H(3) Wheelock & Co 6101 / 648
1K(3) HNA Group 13500 / 900 est.
1L(3) HNA Group 13600 / 600 est.
1K(2) K.Wah Group 10220 / 800 est.
1L(1) HNA Group 13000 / 600 est.
1L(2) Milway Development (under HNA Group) 13500 / 800 est.

‘The government has increased the supply of residential units by raising development density and encouraging “blind land usurping”, but real estate prices remained high, showing that these are not effective measures,’ commented Roy Tam Hoi-pong, Chief Executive (Voluntary) of Green Sense. ‘We believe that instead of providing units which would end up being speculated as luxury homes, continuously sacrificing the environment in the process, the government should tighten its housing policies.

Green Sense suggested applying certain conditions to the increase of residential density, including transforming the 16 lots for private housing to HOS use, or setting limitations in land leases stating developers should only provide ‘Hong Kong first-timer’ units – flats sold exclusively to locals as starter homes – those units are not to be transferred within a short period of time. Should a transfer be made, only those who are also local first-time home buyers would be eligible. Thus the chance of property and land speculation would be greatly reduced. If the government fails to implement the above measures, there is no reason to allow the denser development.

Caption: Another Proposed Change of Land Use to Residential (Group B) at Kai Tak, plus changes in Floor Area Ratio and Height Limits – Restrictions to private projects and increase in HOS supply the only way to help locals

Green Sense emphasized the suggestions are rational and voice of the society. Compared with freely allowing speculation, the suggested measures could better respond to housing problems while preventing the reviving of walled buildings and subsequent deterioration of air quality and landscapes in the Kowloon Bay and Ngau Tau Kok areas. We strongly urge the public to speak up during the second consultation period of the OZP, expected in mid-May.