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Old May 11th, 2011, 07:58 PM   #1201
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Higher prices set for auction
The Standard
Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Buoyed by an upbeat market, price estimates for the three plots of land to be auctioned tomorrow have surged.

The former Lingnan University site on Stubbs Road, 62 Begonia Road in Kowloon Tong and a site in Ngau Tam Mei are now expected to fetch up to a total of nearly HK$6 billion.

The Stubbs Road site is valued at between HK$3.6 billion and HK$4.52 billion, according to four surveyors polled by The Standard.

"The plot is likely to be developed into a low-density luxury project. It should attract bids from the large developers," said Midland Surveyors director Alvin Lam Tze-pun.

Lam expects the 160,384-square-foot site, with a plot ratio of about 1.13 times, to sell for HK$4.52 billion, or HK$25,000 psf - 8 percent higher than his previous estimate.

Flats nearby are priced at about HK$18,000 psf.

Meanwhile, the 30,247 sq ft Begonia Road site may fetch between HK$500 million and HK$768 million, or HK$13,600 to HK$20,880 psf.

Midland Realty and Centaline revised their estimates upward by nearly 40 percent to HK$515 million.

The 252,743 sq ft Ngau Tam Mei plot in Yuen Long is estimated to go for between HK$410 million and HK$700 million, or HK$4,000 to HK$6,924 psf.

Midland Realty revised its estimate to HK$525 million from HK$400 million, marking a 31.25 percent hike.

With a plot ratio of 0.4 times, the plot is limited to development of a low- density residential project. Houses at The Vineyard nearby are priced around HK$8,400 psf.

Meanwhile, over the past four days, The Beverly Hills in Tai Po, a project comprising 535 individual houses by Henderson Land (0012) fared well after the price was lowered on Friday to HK$5,600 psf from HK$7,000 psf.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 12:11 PM   #1202
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Kerry Properties upbeat on key weekend home sales
The Standard
Friday, May 06, 2011

About 400 units of Lions Rise will be available for sale tomorrow and Kerry Properties (0683) is confident they will all sell, allowing it to pocket HK$5 billion.

Executive director Chu Ip-pui said yesterday 350 to 400 units will be put on the market, representing 40 percent of the total number of 968 units spread over five towers in Wong Tai Sin.

Prices for the units, released on Wednesday, ranged from HK$9,998 per square foot to HK$14,942 psf. Most of them are two- and three-bedroom units of between 640 and 1,276 square feet.

So far Kerry has attracted more than 10,000 people to its showrooms.

Ip said market response will determine whether prices go up.

"We should be able to cash in HK$10 billion when all the units are sold," Ip said.

He expects the 80,000 sq ft shopping arcade in Lions Rise to fetch HK$4.8 million a month in rent and around HK$60 million for the whole year.

Kerry Properties is in talks with a Japanese supermarket over the possibility of it becoming an anchor tenant.

Meanwhile, the company will put on the market two new projects this year.

One is in Des Voeux Road West with 146 units of between 660 and 2,000 sq ft each. The other one is in Shan Kwong Road in Happy Valley with 126 units of around 2,000 sq ft each.

The developer expects to pocket HK$2.5 billion and HK$5 billion, respectively, from the two projects.

Further, Ip said Kerry will bid for the Stubbs Road site in Thursday's land auction on its own.

He expects bidding to be intense as all three sites up for grabs are for luxury homes. The other two are 62 Begonia Road in Kowloon Tong and Ngau Tam Mei off San Tam Road in Yuen Long.

The government is set to net at least HK$5 billion, with the Stubbs Road site fetching HK$3.26 billion.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 08:05 AM   #1203
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Sites sizzle at $5.7b
The Standard
Friday, May 13, 2011



Three sites offered by the government yesterday fetched a staggering HK$5.7 billion in one of Hong Kong's most heated land auctions.

Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) snapped up the 158,231-square-foot site of former Lingnan University on Stubbs Road for HK$4.49 billion - near the top end of an estimated range of HK$3.09- HK$4.55 billion. The final sale price is equivalent to HK$24,829 per buildable square foot - the third highest ever paid in the city.

Sun Hung Kai Real Estate Agency executive director Victor Lui Ting said the developer will invest HK$8 billion on the site, which has a maximum buildable floor of 180,835 sq ft.

"We won the plot at a reasonable price, as [Stubbs Road] rarely has land put up for sale," Lui said.

Centaline Surveyors director James Cheung King-tat expects the completed homes to sell for as much as HK$40,000 psf, due to the rising cost of building on a slope.

The competitive bid war finished in just 11 minutes with 33 bids among five bidders.

To the surprise of many, the Yuen Long plot drew the most aggressive bids. It was sold after receiving 81 bids from 12 bidders in less than 20 minutes.

Cheung Kong Holdings (0001) won the 252,739-sq-ft Ngau Tam Mei plot for HK$662 million - also at the upper end of the estimated range of HK$400 million to HK$700 million.

The accommodative value - the land price per square foot - of HK$6,548 psf marked the fifth highest for the New Territories. "It's very rare to have a site where you can
have low density development," executive director Grace Woo Chia-ching said.

Cheung Kong plans to build 60 detached houses. They are expected to sell for more than HK$10,000 psf, given the construction of HK$5,000 psf.

Bidding was most modest for the Kowloon Tong plot. China Overseas Lands (0688) won the 30,247-sq-ft plot at 62 Begonia Road near Yau Yat Chuen for HK$578 million, or HK$15,715 psf - the third highest average for Kowloon.

"We plan to invest HK$85 million to build 10 houses, each sized between 3,000 to 5,000 square feet. They are expected to be sold at HK$26,000 psf," said managing director Yau Wai- kwong.

The plot price was estimated between HK$406 million to HK$768 million.

Lands Department deputy director and auctioneer Graham Ross said he is satisfied with the results. He denied that he tried to heat up the auctions by lowering the bid increment.

AG Wilkinson & Associates director Ringo Lam Chun-chiu said the results indicate developers' confidence on government measures to cool flat prices not dampening demand for luxury homes.

Kerry Properties (0683) executive director Chu Ip-pui said the auction showed that there is no room for home prices to fall. But he said the company has no plan to raise prices at Lions Rise - its latest project in Wong Tai Sin.

Nan Fung Development managing director Donald Choi Wun-hing said any price changes will follow the market.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 06:25 PM   #1204
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LCQ4: Expansion project of Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Government Press Release

Following is a question by the Hon Tanya Chan and a reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (May 18):

Question:

In January 2008, the Town Planning Board (TPB) proposed amendments to the draft Wong Nai Chung Outline Zoning Plan (OZP) to incorporate building height restrictions for the Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital (HKSH) site, and HKSH applied for judicial review (JR) from the court in this regard. On September 1, 2010, HKSH submitted a settlement proposal to TPB which accepted the proposal on September 3, and the Metro Planning Committee under TPB agreed on September 10 to make amendments to the OZP. The relevant JR proceedings were terminated on September 27. On September 30, TPB consulted the public on the revised draft OZP. It has been learnt that, with the aforesaid amendments and upon completion of the relevant expansion project of HKSH, the number of bed spaces in private hospitals in the Happy Valley area will increase substantially. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) given that TPB proposed further amendments to the OZP and conducted consultation after accepting HKSH's settlement proposal, whether the authorities have assessed if TPB's practice of "agreement first, consultation to follow" renders the subsequent public consultation to lose its substantive meaning; whether TPB had gone through such amendment and consultation procedures which were similar to the above practice of "agreement first, consultation to follow" in the past; if it had, of the details; whether the authorities have assessed the legal risks and liabilities to be borne by TPB if the amendments ultimately approved after the consultation do not conform with the contents of the settlement proposal;

(b) as I have learnt that the Planning Department (PlanD), as the executive arm of TPB, has handled the settlement issues related to the aforesaid JR case on behalf of TPB under TPB's delegated authority, while at the same time PlanD is also responsible for consolidating the views given by various policy bureaux and departments on HKSH's revised development proposal as well as providing TPB with objective and professional advice, whether the authorities have assessed if this has resulted in role conflicts for PlanD, making it impossible for PlanD to provide professional advice in an independent manner; and

(c) during the planning process in dealing with the expansion project of HKSH, whether the authorities have assessed the impact of the project on the planning for the supply of bed spaces in private hospitals on the Hong Kong Island and even in Hong Kong as a whole; if they have, of the assessment results; if not, the reasons for that?

Reply:

President,

The Town Planning Board (TPB) is established under section 2 of the Town Planning Ordinance (the Ordinance). It discharges its functions under the Ordinance independently.

The question is asking about a decision of the TPB. It would not be appropriate for me to give an explanation on its behalf. The case in question has nevertheless been recorded in the papers of the TPB that are accessible to the public. I would refer to those documents and my reply to the three-part question is as follows.

(a) As pointed out in Metro Planning Committee (MPC) Paper No. 20/10, according to the settlement proposal between the Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital (HKSH) and the TPB (the settlement proposal), the Planning Department (PlanD) was required to prepare a paper for the MPC meeting on September 10, 2010, and propose amendments to the draft Wong Nai Chung Outline Zoning Plan No. S/H7/14 (the new draft OZP) under section 7 of the Ordinance. After PlanD had submitted the relevant paper, and the MPC agreed to the amendments to the draft OZP on September 10, 2010, the HKSH withdrew its application for judicial review (JR) as set out in the settlement proposal.

As mentioned above, the TPB had amended the draft OZP as required in the settlement proposal, and published the amendments in gazette for public consultation in accordance with the Ordinance. Representations and comments in respect of the new draft OZP had also been handled in accordance with the Ordinance. The TPB's exhibition of the amendments, conduct of consultation and processing of public representations and comments were all done in accordance with the Ordinance and it would be inappropriate for the Development Bureau to comment.

As far as I know, there was no similar precedent of a settlement proposal for the TPB.

(b) According to the information provided by the Secretary of the TPB, in the settlement of this case, the Secretary of the TPB has been acting on authority delegated by the TPB, representing the TPB in handling the settlement matters relating to the JR, including advising on the settlement proposal and its terms, as well as seeking professional and legal advice on the relevant matters for the TPB's consideration. On the other hand, in dealing with the HKSH's proposed development and making amendments to the draft OZP, PlanD was mainly responsible for consolidating the views of the relevant bureaux and departments, and providing planning analysis and professional planning advice to the TPB. It had also confirmed that the development proposal was acceptable.

However, it is the job of the TPB to consider and decide on the settlement proposal and the amendments to the draft OZP. The Secretary of the TPB and PlanD are mainly responsible for giving objective, professional and independent advice on the relevant procedures/legal issues and planning matters. There is no conflict of roles.

(c) The TPB had considered the HKSH's expansion project with reference to the views of the Food and Health Bureau (FHB) and the Department of Health (DH). FHB supported the development proposal and DH did not object to it.

It is the Government's policy to promote private hospital development to enhance the overall capacity of the healthcare system and further improve the quality of healthcare services to cope with the increasing service demand in Hong Kong. Private hospital development also helps address the imbalance between the public and private sectors in hospital services for the long-term sustainable development of the healthcare system in Hong Kong. Subject to compliance of the development with relevant statutory and regulatory requirements, the Government supports the expansion and redevelopment projects of existing private hospitals for the enhancement of their services, as well as the development of new hospitals.

In general, private hospitals provide services to residents living in the same district and also those from other districts. Apart from residents of the same district where the hospital is located, residents of other districts can also benefit from the new services and enhanced facilities provided by private hospitals through expansion or redevelopment. As far as the HKSH's expansion project is concerned, FHB and DH consider that it will enhance hospital services and increase the number of hospital beds and service capacity for the benefit of the public. The Government supports the HKSH's redevelopment project subject to compliance of the hospital with relevant statutory and regulatory requirements.
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Old May 21st, 2011, 07:57 AM   #1205
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Reclamation back in frame to meet development needs
The Standard

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A year-long public consultation exercise will be launched later this year on whether Hong Kong needs to reclaim land or develop rock caverns to deal with long-term development needs.

Sites such as Sunny Bay, Penny's Bay, Tuen Mun and southwest Tsing Yi, which have been studied in previous years as potential areas for reclamation outside Victoria Harbor, will again come under consideration, the government said.

Permanent Secretary for Development Wai Chi-sing said authorities will launch a territory- wide search for potential sites and disclose details as the basis for public discussion.

Wai said there is a need to come up with more land supply "if we have to sustain our economic development" as well as "accommodate population growth and the associated needs."

He added: "There are different methods to produce land. One of these is reclamation. The other methods, including developing natural land, will also affect natural conditions. So different methods have got different problems that have to be solved."

Despite the proposals, Deputy Director of Planning Ling Kar-kan admitted Hong Kong will have sufficient land to meet its housing and economic development needs up to 2030.

But he said the SAR should consider whether there is a need to build up a "land bank" via such ways as reclamation and developing rock caverns to meet unexpected needs after 2030.

Wai added that construction activities in the territory generate about six to seven million tonnes of waste that need to be dumped in landfills each year. Most such waste is currently sent to Taishan in Guangdong for recycling, but the contract will end in 2013.

If the deal is not renewed, Hong Kong will need to identify more sites for landfills.

Wai also said dredging of harbor fairways and other marine works generate about 2.4 million cubic meters of contaminated sediments each year.

It may be necessary to set up more areas for disposal facilities when the existing ones near Sha Chau are full, probably in 2015.

In the first stage of the consultation exercise from the third quarter of this year to the second quarter of next year, the public will be asked to select not more than 20 potential sites for reclamation, five sites for handling contaminated sediments and 20 rock caverns for development.

The second stage will be held in the fourth quarter of next year.

Residents will be asked to narrow down the selections to seven reclamation, three sediment and eight rock cavern sites.

Wai said this long-term study is not directly related to property price surges. No decision has been made on how to use the land created.

Peter Lee Siu-man, campaign manager at Conservancy Association, said he will wait and see what sites are chosen before assessing the potential impact on the environment.

Lee urged the government to tell the public how much more land is needed before reclamation is allowed to begin.
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Old May 21st, 2011, 11:04 AM   #1206
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nice posts, thanks for all your efforts i enjoyed reading it.
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 04:52 AM   #1207
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New flat launches to tap strong sentiment
The Standard
Monday, May 23, 2011

Developers are gearing up to put more new flats on the market, with Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) planning to sell all 117 units at i.UniQ tomorrow.

Flats at the Shau Kei Wan project are sized between 398 and 622 square foot, and priced at an average of HK$13,508 per square foot - higher than similar flats at private estates nearby.

Units at 18 Upper East in Sai Wan Ho - put on the market recently - cost an average of HK$12,385 psf, while those at Tai Koo Shing are fetching HK$10,600 psf.

The i.UniQ sale comes as two more plots to be auctioned on June 9 are expected to fetch as much as HK$13.2 billion.

Meanwhile, Kerry Properties (0683) sold around 10 flats at Lions Rise in Wong Tai Sin during the weekend, with a mainland buyer paying HK$28 million for four units. More than 300 of the total 968 flats have been sold so far.

Chinachem sold nine flats at its Residence 228 in Sham Shui Po, where one- to three-bedroom units are priced between HK$7,553 and HK$9,847 psf.

Of the sites going under the hammer next month, the 112,800 sq ft plot at Borrett Road in the Mid-levels will likely fetch between HK$8.7 billion and HK$13 billion, representing an accommodative value of HK$20,000 to HK$30,000 psf.

Savills Valuation and Professional Services managing director Charles Chan lifted his estimation on the plot by 20 percent to HK$30,000 psf, on "market sentiment boosted by the last land auction."

The plot's gross floor area is limited to 435,304 sq ft, and the building's height is capped at 230 meters. There is also a 10 percent limit on the site's "inflated building area" including green areas and gym.

Despite the restrictions, Swire Pacific (0019) and Emperor International (0163) have expressed interest in the plot.

The 65,403 sq ft plot at Ping Kwai Road in Ping Shan, Yuen Long, is tipped to fetch between HK$130 million and HK$160 million, with an AV of up to HK$3,000 psf.

Building height is capped at 15m, with a maximum gfa of 65,403 sq ft.
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 05:48 PM   #1208
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Liantang checkpoint between HK, Shenzhen to begin construction in 2013 as planned
23 May 2011
Xinhua News Agency

HONG KONG, May 23 (Xinhua) -- Construction of the Liantang (Heung Yuen Wai) Boundary Control Point project between Hong Kong and Shenzhen was expected to start in 2013 as planned, the Hong Kong government said Monday in a statement.`

The statement came after the sixth meeting of the Hong Kong- Shenzhen Joint Task Force on Boundary District Development in the day, convened by Secretary for Development of the Hong Kong city government Carrie Lam and Shenzhen Vice Mayor Lu Ruifeng.

Both Hong Kong and Shenzhen have launched a design competition for the passenger terminal building in the eastern part of the boundary between the two cities. An exhibition of selected entries will be held in Hong Kong and Shenzhen next month for public feedback. Winning entries will be announced in August.

Both sides have also reached a consensus on the mode of co- operation on the construction work of the bridge and footbridge connecting the checkpoints. Details of the entrustment arrangement and agreement are being worked out.

Meanwhile, both sides are now taking forward preparatory works for the checkpoints' construction, which is scheduled to be put into operation in 2018.
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Old May 26th, 2011, 06:08 AM   #1209
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Imperial Cullinan, i.UniQ star in SHKP's 120-flat offer next week
The Standard
Friday, May 20, 2011

Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) plans to launch as many as 120 units at two projects next week.
The first batch of 80 to 100 units at Imperial Cullinan in southwest Kowloon will likely be priced at an average of HK$25,000 per square feet. Show flats also open next week.

And at its i.UniQ project in Shau Kei Wan, the developer will offer 20 of the total 117 flats at an average of HK$13,388 psf, with sales project director Amy Teo expecting the first batch to fetch up to HK$13,787 psf.

That would be significantly higher than prices of secondary homes nearby, which average HK$6,000 psf, according to Ricacorp head of research Patrick Chow Moon-kit.

"This type of project usually attracts single buyers, especially foreigners. But the location may not be too attractive," Chow said.

He disagreed with Teo - who insists i.UniQ has easy access to two major commercial districts - Kowloon East and Island East.

Of its 117 units, 70 percent are one- bedroom flats sized up to 500 square feet, Teo said.

The 20 flats launched include both one- and two-bedroom apartments sized from 398 to 622 sq ft. The cheapest unit costs HK$ 5.19 million.

Meanwhile, Kerry Properties (0683) raised HK$2.5 billion from the sale of 280 flats at Lions Rise at an average price of HK$11,000 psf, executive director Chu Ip-pui said.

So far, Kerry has put on the market 426 units, or 45 percent of the total flats at the Wong Tai Sin project.
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Old May 31st, 2011, 06:26 PM   #1210
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Mei Foo developer fails in new bid to stop protests
The Standard
Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A developer failed in another bid for an interim injunction against further protests at a controversial Mei Foo Sun Chuen site before a formal hearing in December.

Deputy High Court judge Queeny Au Yeung Kwai-yue dismissed an application for leave to appeal against a provisional order for an interim injunction sought by developer Billion Star Development on the grounds there was no urgency to exercise her discretion.

The judge also found there was no chance of the developer winning the appeal for an interim injunction.

Arguments by the developer, including claims of losses in the millions of dollars, can be dealt with in the December injunction hearing, she said.

But the judge also refused to accept a submission by the respondents that the legal action is meant to bully Mei Foo residents.

She also accepted an application by the developer to amend the summons and listed three politicians - the Civic Party's Claudia Mo Man-ching and the League of Social Democrats lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung and member Tsang Kin-sing - as additional respondents.

Yip Siu-chau, campaign leader for the residents and one of the respondents, welcomed the judge's refusal to grant an interim injunction to prohibit protests.

"There will be irreversible consequences if the developer is allowed to go ahead with construction," said Yip.

"What happens if we win eventually? Pull down the building?

"They have waited more than 10 years since the site was a gas storage plant. Why can't they wait for a few more months?"

Yip reiterated that campaigners did not disrupt the work intentionally.

Residents are seeking a judicial review against the development on the grounds it is illegally using the development potential of Phase 8 of Mei Foo.

The government earlier declared the development is lawful.
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Old June 2nd, 2011, 06:57 PM   #1211
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Lee Shau-kee has pointer to the land of opportunity
The Standard
Thursday, June 02, 2011

Billionaire Lee Shau-kee, chairman of Henderson Land (0012), says that buying plots with old buildings on them is more profitable than acquiring new sites for development.

Still, Lee is keen to acquire a much- eyed plot on Borrett Road being auctioned on June 9. "Everyone is interested in it," he said, though he hopes it will move at "a reasonable price."

Henderson Land is currently involved in 23 development projects.

Conditions appear rosy for another firm controlled by Lee - the hotel- and mall-focused Miramar Group (0071).

Its hotel business saw a 28-percent jump in guest numbers since January, and the average room rate rose 25 percent to HK$1,800 per night.

Its shopping mall operations also looks promising.

On that, managing director Martin Lee Ka-shing said rents at The Mira will definitely go up after the Tsim Sha Tsui mall is refurbished.

And the strong performance of the initial public offering of restaurant chain Tang Palace (1181) last month may prompt the group to spin off its own catering business, the junior Lee noted.

In another field, "our Japan tour business has been reviving after the earthquake in March," said Martin Lee.

Asked about the equity market, Lee Shau-kee expects the Hang Seng Index to fluctuate by 10 percent around the 23,500 mark throughout the year.

"Only when the HSI goes up to 24,000 to 25,000 could our bonus warrants perform better," he said in a reference to a HK$58 per-share warrants issued last year on Henderson Development (0012). The warrants have not performed well this year.

The Lees were speaking after the annual general meeting of Miramar Group.

Meanwhile, saying a buyer problem involving 39 Conduit Road was "old news," Lee noted that deposits equal to 10 percent of prices of units had been forfeited.
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Old June 3rd, 2011, 03:28 PM   #1212
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URA spells out its `demand-led' rules
The Standard
Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Homeowners in old buildings can now redevelop their properties with help from the Urban Renewal Authority.

Under the URA's "demand-led" redevelopment model, if 67 percent or two-thirds of homeowners at a site reach consensus, they can initiate the redevelopment by submitting an application to the authority.

Upon approval, the URA will issue conditional plans to redevelop the project.

The owners then have 60 days to agree to the URA's plans and at least 80 percent of them must do so before the authority can start implementing the scheme.

Projects accepted by the URA will be included in its 2012-13 annual business plan for submission to the Financial Secretary for final approval.

Each homeowner will be compensated a sum that is equivalent to the price of a seven-year-old flat nearby.

If the time between the authority accepting an application and the drawing up of plans for the site exceeds three months, the offer price will be adjusted according to a pre-determined methodology, URA chairman Barry Cheung Chun-yuen, said.

But if it takes the URA more than a year to come up with redevelopment proposals, then the project will be cancelled.

The proposed sites must take up no less than 400 square meters and be located within the government's redevelopment zones. Buildings should be identified as "poor or varied" and should not have any historical, architectural or cultural significance.

The authority will accept applications under its demand-led model from July until the end of October, Cheung said.
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Old June 28th, 2011, 09:47 AM   #1213
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URA changes its focus to providing smaller flats
22 June 2011
South China Morning Post

The Urban Renewal Authority will build 3,400 flats in the next five years.

The flats - half of them less than 500 square feet in size, a response to demand for smaller, cheaper homes - will be sold at market prices. Authority chiefs say they are not in a position to provide subsidised housing.

Authority chairman Barry Cheung Chun-yuen said yesterday: "Building subsidised housing is not the mission of the URA. Our mission is to solve urban decay problems. Without instructions from the government, we cannot on our own introduce such housing projects."

The 3,400 flats will be built at the former Wan Chai Market and in nearby Lee Tung Street and in Kwun Tong, Hung Hom and Mong Kok.The authority will launch 10 redevelopment projects in the next five years as part of a HK$20 billion scheme, but is keeping under wraps where they will be built.

Last year, the authority said it could build more "no-frills" flats to address public criticism that its projects were not generally affordable. An authority spokesman said the "no frills" option was still being considered for the 10 projects. He said no-frills flats would, for the time being, be limited to Kai Tak and Ma Tau Wai Road, two projects the URA has undertaken alone.

The rest of the HK$20 billion will be used to subsidise the maintenance of 2,600 old buildings.

The authority reported a net operating surplus of HK$2.2 billion for the past financial year and disclosed financial details of five projects where flat sales were completed last year.

Overall, there was a deficit of HK$50.3 million on the projects. A deficit of HK$1.9 billion from the sale of flats at Vision City and Citywalk, a development of 1,466 flats in Tsuen Wan, offset surpluses on the other four. The Tsuen Wan project was in deficit because the site on which it was built was bought in 1997 when the property market peaked.
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Old June 30th, 2011, 09:39 PM   #1214
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Safety push over cubicle homes likely to prove mammoth task
The Standard
Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Officials face a mammoth task in checking the safety of subdivided flats with about 1,300 cubicle homes believed to be in every 150 buildings.

Director of Buildings Au Choi- kai said his department plans to inspect 150 buildings a year to ensure renovations meet fire safety requirements and do not put structures at risk.

"We will take action if any problems are found," Au warned.

He said the government will determine whether the subdivided flats should be incorporated.

Au also told Sham Shui Po district councillors the issue does not only involve the buildings concerned but also housing and social problems in the territory.

He was responding to criticism that his department is not doing enough to address the issue, especially in the wake of a recent blaze that tore through a Hung Hom tenement, killing four people.

However, district councillors were not satisfied with his assurances.

Sham Shui Po district council member Vincent Cheng Wing-shan, a member of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said the efforts outlined are not enough. Cheng suggested the government establish a data base to record the number of subdivided flats.

District councillor and lawmaker Frederick Fung Kin-kee, of the Hong Kong Association For Democracy And People's Livelihood, questioned whether the Buildings Department has sufficient manpower to carry out inspections. Fung said it is also necessary to strengthen public education with regard to problems posed by subdivided flats.

Separately, about 40 people from the DAB and ADPL staged a rally in the lobby of the Government Offices in Cheung Sha Wan.

They urged the government to regulate subdivided flats and to conduct regular inspections.

According to a survey conducted by the DAB earlier this year, there are an estimated 40,000 subdivided flats in buildings that are more than 50 years old in Kowloon City and Sham Shui Po alone.

About one in six flats in old buildings in Kowloon West is subdivided into an average of four units, the party said.
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Old July 5th, 2011, 05:25 PM   #1215
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Mortgage loans on slide
The Standard
Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Measures to curb the booming property market are having an effect as data showed mortgage loan applications in the first half of the year fell by 20.2 percent from the second half of 2010.

According to the Lands Registrar, a total of 75,552 mortgage applications were recorded in the first half, up 1.5 percent from May 2010.

"It is mainly due to the curbing measures launched by the government by the end of last year, as well as the mortgage loans tightening [ordered] by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority," said Ivy Wong Mei-fung, managing director of Centaline Mortgage Broker.

Last November, the government imposed a Special Stamp Duty of up to 15 percent on homes purchased and resold within 24 months.

Earlier this year, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority mapped out stiffer down-payment requirements for flats priced at more than HK$6 million.

Last week, DBS Bank hiked its HIBOR-based mortgage rates to HIBOR plus 2-2.5 percent.

"It is not likely to trigger a new wave of mortgage rate hikes in the city, unless the larger banks are following the hikes," said Wong.

In June, HSBC (0005) had a market share of 27.1 percent - the largest - of the mortgage market.

It was followed Bank of China (Hong Kong) (2388), Standard Chartered Bank (2888) and Hang Sang Bank (0011).
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Old July 7th, 2011, 04:30 PM   #1216
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Really very nice post, Thanks for sharing this valuable information with us.
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Old July 7th, 2011, 05:41 PM   #1217
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LCQ6: Information on resale prices of residential properties
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Government Press Release

Following is a question by the Hon Fred Li and a reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (July 6):

Question:

It has been reported that the means employed by real estate developers to acquire old buildings have all along been under criticism, and such means include completing transactions at a "split price" (e.g. a transaction on a property with an actual price of over $2.7 million is completed at a registered price of $1.2 million, and a removal fee over $1.5 million), so as to create an illusion that old buildings are acquired at low prices, and persuading owners to sell their property ownerships by making deceptive claims that 80% or 90% of the ownerships in the buildings have been acquired. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) regarding a report last month that a company engaging in old buildings acquisition made use of a loophole in the Land Registration Ordinance and only registered in the Land Registry the provisional agreement for sale and purchase (PASP) and the formal conveyance on sale, and did not register the supplementary agreement relating to the value of conveyance on the sale of that property, whether the Government will review the Ordinance and make amendments to the effect that the information registered under the Ordinance reflects the true value of conveyance on sale of properties;

(b) whether at present the Lands Tribunal, Urban Renewal Authority and Rating and Valuation Department make projections and compile statistics on the basis of the property prices registered in the Land Registry; if so, whether changes will be made to use the value of conveyance on sale of properties required to be listed in the agreements for sale under the Stamp Duty Ordinance together with other considerations for such projections and statistics; and

(c) whether it knows if the Estate Agents Authority (EAA) has performed random checks since issuing a practice circular in August last year to require estate agents to state the true purchase price on PASP; whether EAA will make reference to the requirements under the Stamp Duty Ordinance and amend the relevant regulation to stipulate that estate agents must list on PASP all considerations related to the conveyance on sale of properties, and whether it will require estate agents to provide accurate information to owners in accordance with the records in the Land Registry when providing information on property ownerships of acquired buildings, and to show the relevant records?

Reply:

Acting Madam President,

The Hon Fred Li's question is based on a report of the price offered by a real estate developer in acquiring old buildings. It however appears that the crux of the matter is how the public can obtain accurate information on the resale prices of residential properties. This is an issue about property market information which also falls within the ambit of the Transport and Housing Bureau and the Estate Agents Authority (EAA). Therefore, the Secretary for Transport and Housing has joined me to answer Members' questions today.

My reply to the three-part question is as follows:

(a) The purpose of the Land Registration Ordinance (LRO) is to provide for the registration of deeds, conveyances, judgments and other instruments affecting real or immovable property, and the keeping of land transaction records for public search purposes to facilitate the title to landed properties to be easily traced and ascertained. That is to say, the maintenance of land registers and land transaction records is for a repository of private property ownership information for the public. Having regard to the ambit of the LRO, we do not consider that there exists any loophole in the Ordinance as referred to by the Hon Li. Nor do we consider the Ordinance a suitable vehicle to regulate malpractices, such as price mis-information and market manipulation.

(b) In acquiring properties, the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) will appoint independent professional surveyors to assess the market value of the properties to be acquired and make reasonable acquisition offers.

When assessing the market value of properties, the surveyors appointed will analyse the relevant information of the properties to be acquired, collate and analyse the transaction records of similar neighbouring properties registered at the Land Registry (LR), and select a considerable number of transaction cases for comparison. The surveyors will examine the relevant information of the transacted properties, including the transaction dates and transaction prices etc., and conduct analyses based on the unit prices per square foot of saleable area. In determining the market value of the subject properties, the surveyors will also rely on their professional observations and judgments on the property market and market prices over a long period of time, as well as their analyses of transaction cases making reference to other market information including relevant market reports, market analyses, data and news on the sale and purchase of first-hand and second-hand properties and transactions of similar properties in other districts etc. If it is found that the transaction prices of similar neighbouring properties selected for comparison are, for various reasons, higher or lower than the market prices, or the information is inaccurate, the surveyors will not take such transaction cases as reference.

In assessing the market price of a residential property, the surveyors will consider factors such as the surroundings, building age, floor level, area, views, orientation, physical conditions and building facilities of the subject property. In assessing a commercial property, they will make an analysis based on factors including the location, pedestrian flow, shop-front width, ceiling height, area and configuration of the property. They will carefully consider, analyse and compare transaction cases and the level of market values before determining the reasonable market value of the target property to be acquired based on their expertise and experience.

By adopting the above method of assessment, neither the assessment by the URA of the market value of the target property to be acquired, nor the assessment of the "Home Purchase Allowance" offered under its acquisition policy on the basis of a notional seven-year old replacement flat will be affected in case the resale prices of certain properties registered at the LR are lower than the actual prices of the properties.

One of the duties of the Rating and Valuation Department (RVD) is to assist the Collector of Stamp Revenue in vetting the stated consideration of transactions involving transfer of property to safeguard the Government's stamp revenue. Extensive property transaction information will be collected during the vetting and such data also serves as the main reference materials in capital valuation and compilation of statistics. The resale prices of properties registered at the LR are only one source of reference for the RVD in assisting the Collector of Stamp Revenue to determine the stamp duty payable. As such, the vetting by the RVD of stated consideration of transactions will not be affected in case the resale prices of certain properties registered at the LR are lower than the actual prices of the properties.

As for the question raised in respect of the Lands Tribunal, we have consulted the Judiciary, which considers that the matter involves legal issues and it will be inappropriate for the Judiciary to give its views in this regard.

As mentioned above, the URA and the RVD do not rely on the data on property prices recorded in the LR as the only source of reference when assessing and determining the market prices of properties. They will make reference to other market information, reports, analyses, as well as property data and news available on the web to carry out analyses as appropriate.

(c) The Estate Agents Practice (General Duties and Hong Kong Residential Properties) Regulation requires that estate agents should provide clients with accurate information on the prices or rentals of residential properties, and should not mislead clients.

The EAA is concerned about the practice of estate agents in the acquisition of old buildings. In this regard, the EAA issued a Practice Circular in August 2010 to stipulate the requirements as set out in the law and the Code of Ethics which practitioners should comply with when engaging in the acquisition of old buildings, with a view to protecting the owners' interest.

As regards acquisition price, the Practice Circular requires estate agents engaging in the acquisition of old buildings to set out the actual acquisition price in the Preliminary Agreement for Sale and Purchase (PASP). Also, it requires that estate agents should not exaggerate other payments (e.g. removal allowance) in order to create a false impression of a lower acquisition price.

The EAA has not received any complaints on estate agents not stating the actual acquisition prices in PASPs since issuing the aforementioned Practice Circular last year. During inspections on estate agency shops, the EAA has reminded practitioners to comply with the requirements as set out in the law and the Code of Ethics in the acquisition of old buildings. Licensees who are found to have breached the Estate Agents Ordinance (EAO), the Code of Ethics or the Practice Circulars may be liable to disciplinary actions by the EAA in accordance with the EAO.
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Old July 11th, 2011, 05:51 PM   #1218
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Long-term vision for dramatic changes
The Standard
Monday, July 11, 2011

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Hong Kong is famous for its compact size and efficient infrastructure, but 70 percent of our land is designated for country parks due to the hilly topography - and only 5-10 percent of what remains is used for residential purposes.

That is what creates the high density and undesirable living conditions of the masses.

Perhaps this is due in part to our historical ancestors who first began to develop our fishing port along the harborfront - like many of its European counterparts - building according to the needs of their sea-trade routes.

Yet, as Hong Kong stepped out of its fishing and manufacturing past to become one of the world's core financial centers, there was a lack of strategic and collective urban planning featuring a long-term vision for development and population increases like that of, say, New York.

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Instead, Hong Kong opted for sporadic land reclamation as and when the need arose. The government has sat by and chosen to not critically and objectively review city planning.

Not only that, it has resorted to ill-focused measures that do little to provide solutions to the larger problem at hand. Such lack of forward planning has over the decades led to what is now a major social problem of housing development.

Population distribution has got worse, with the government unable to present either a coherent urban plan or infrastructure network for the future.

The idea of converting rural areas into suburbs has proven to be a failure here, compared with our Asian counterparts like Singapore. The reason for the fiasco is that this type of methodology only works under two conditions. First is a well- connected and efficient mode of transport in the form of high- speed rail or freeways. Second, setting up multiple city centers.

It is of the utmost importance to have employment centers in newly founded suburbs because developing a successful suburb is in a way like developing a new city in a rural area.

To do this, residents must have easy access to support facilities like a secondary central business district, a second Tsim Sha Tsui or Central, shared among two or three suburbs.

What is needed for such an endeavor is collective vision and execution. It is a lack of vision that has caused Tin Shui Wai to be just reduced to a distant home for those who work in the city center - a two-hour commute away - rather than a well-placed and self-sufficient living and working area.

The current attitude towards major policies is a passive one - with a government afraid of its own shadow often lacking the courage to make large-scale changes with long-term impact.

The time for petty policies and ill-visioned planning is over, we must think big as the younger generation rises. Instead of disappointing them we should encourage and reignite the hidden flames, to give Hong Kong's future generation a chance.

Only dramatic changes lead to dramatic results. It is perhaps time for us to realize we must choose an aggressive path ahead. Hong Kong Art Vanguard Association members - architect Nicholas Ho and art historian Stephanie Poon - don't always see eye to eye.
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Old July 13th, 2011, 03:32 AM   #1219
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any present status of building construction just across Sogo dept. store in causeway bay?
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Old July 13th, 2011, 03:54 AM   #1220
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel que View Post
any present status of building construction just across Sogo dept. store in causeway bay?
Hysan Place, see more detail here: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=763856
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