HK to lift land supply to cool property mkt

HONG KONG: Hong Kong's government will increase land supply in the coming fiscal year in a bid to cool property prices, the Ming Pao newspaper reported on Tuesday, Feb 8.

Financial Secretary John Tsang would announce a plan to make more residential land available for the list of sale in the coming fiscal year when he delivered his budget speech on Feb 23, the newspaper said, citing sources.

The government would also announce plans for frequent auctions of residential sites and to increase the number of small apartment developments for tender to ensure a steady supply of small and medium-sized apartments, the report said.

Since announcing a stamp duty late last year, the government did not intend to introduce further financial measures to curb property speculation, the sources said.

Last November, Hong Kong announced a stamp duty of up to 15% on apartments sold within six months of purchase and tighter mortgages restrictions.

Housing prices have risen more than 50% since the beginning of 2009, according to property agent Centaline.

Hong Kong's dominant developer Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd said residential property prices would likely rise 10% in 2011 because of a supply shortage, Apple Daily reported, citing executive director Justin Chiu. — Reuters

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