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Land promised for 35,400 flats in 2012

HONG KONG: Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said on Feb 24 that land would be made available next year that could realistically yield about 35,400 flats.

Lam defended the figure as being "concrete", saying some 19,100 flats were guaranteed to come on stream from nine government sites and six West Rail sites scheduled for sale in the coming financial year.

The government's land list will offer another 11,500 flats.

She said she expected another 4,800 flats to come on stream from other redevelopment and private projects, a calculation based on figures from the past five years.

"We've tried our best to provide enough sites to meet [Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's] mission for us," Lam said yesterday when unveiling details of the government's sites available for sale next year. "And the figure of over 30,000 units has already exceeded his target of an annual average of 20,000 flats."

Her comment came after surveyors and legislators said the target of 30,000-40,000 flats announced in the budget on Wednesday was an "illusion" because it was based on the assumption that all the government land would successfully be sold.

Of the nine government sites that are set to go on sale next year, four were chosen from last year's land application list, rolled over because developers did not trigger its sale.

They are: the former government-supplies depot at Oil Street in North Point; a low-density site at the former Lingnan University campus on Stubbs Road; a site in Borrett Road, Mid-Levels; and the former Customs and Excise Department quarters at Ko Shan Road, Hung Hom.

Alnwick Chan Chi-hing, an executive director at Knight Frank, said the Borrett Road site would attract the most attention because of its location. He estimated that the site, over one hectare, could fetch about HK$8.7 billion and offer 300 flats.

He estimated that the North Point site, for mixed hotel, commercial and residential development, could generate up to HK$10 billion. The Stubbs Road and Hung Hom sites could be sold for HK$2.7 billion and HK$1.3 billion respectively, he said.

The other five residential sites, restricted to the building of small and medium-sized flats, will be tendered as early as April. They include a 2.54-hectare plot in Tung Chung, two small sites in Hung Hom and a site in Tung Tau, Yuen Long.

The government also put 15 additional new residential sites on its application list. Most of them are in the New Territories, including seven in Tseung Kwan O and one massive, 6.7-hectare, plot in Tuen Mun. In Kowloon there are two upscale sites in Ho Man Tin, near Sheung Lok Street and Fat Kwong Street.

"I think the government can proactively put up two more sites - the one near 110 Repulse Bay Road and one more on Kau To, Sha Tin - for auction this year," Chan said.

"It's because there is a strong demand for luxury properties. And the provision of such land can help slow down the soaring property prices."

The list unveiled by Lam yesterday includes 64 sites on the application list and seven others which will be tendered. They offer a total of 52 residential sites, 14 commercial and business sites, and five hotel sites.

Alvin Lam Tsz-pun, Midland Surveyors director, said the list the government had provided was better than last year's because it provided a mixed variety of sites, from luxury projects to mass developments.

"Apart from the application list system, it's good that the government will take more initiative to sell lands by auction and tender too," Lam said.- SCMP

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