Hong Kong authorities expect more than 9,000 flats to be built on 12 residential sites set to be offered in the coming financial year under the government’s land sale programme announced on Thursday, including a plot for subsidised homes for first-time buyers and another to incorporate a youth hostel.
Development officials on Thursday also said three prime commercial sites would be offered for sale in the coming financial year to provide 200,000 square metres of gross floor area. They are at Kai Tak, Wan Chai and Admiralty, where a plan to redevelop Queensway Plaza proposed seven years ago will be revived.
The 12 residential sites are capable of providing 9,120 flats, the highest number on government land in the past five years.
The administration has for the first time in its programme included three residential sites from the Tung Chung New Town Extension, a new development area expected to yield more than 60,000 flats in total.
Also for the first time, one of the sites in the area is earmarked to include a youth hostel. Around 500 homes are expected to be built on the 1.42-hectare plot with the hostel taking up about 10 per cent of the gross floor area.
The government said it was still considering dormitory room sizes so it could not tell the number of units involved.
Under a preliminary proposal, the developer will be responsible for the entire construction, while the youth hostel will become government property and be operated by an NGO.
Among the three commercial plots is one at Kai Tak Area 4C Site 4, a location designated as part of the city’s second central business district.
The plot was previously sold in 2019 but abandoned by the developer. It was put back on the market later in the year but no bids met the reserve price. The government later proposed using the plot for housing but the Town Planning Board rejected the idea last year.
“We hope to give it a try after a certain period of time. Maybe the market capacity has been different,” Linn said.
For the plan to redevelop the Queensway Plaza shopping centre in Admiralty first proposed in 2016, Linn said the government would negotiate with the mall’s developer and tenants but did not reveal when the site would be put on sale.
The remaining commercial site is on Lockhart Road in Wan Chai and was once subject to a legal dispute.
Although the Urban Renewal Authority rejected a tender for a commercial plot in Kwun Tong earlier this month, Linn said it was not the sole factor affecting the government’s land sale plan.
“It takes time to build commercial floor areas. The city is resuming to normality. We need to be prepared for our future economic development. Or else we may miss out on some opportunities if we sell them after a few years,” Linn said.
Three industrial sites are also included in the coming land sale programme to provide 170,000 square metres of gross floor area.
James Cheung, executive director at Centaline Surveyors, was optimistic about the residential sites on offer.
“The new land sale programme reflects that the government would like to stabilise the supply of homes amid a gradual recovery of the housing market amid the border reopening and economic activities returning to normal,” he said.
“Interest in residential land will be quite high.”
Martin Wong, head of research and consultancy for Greater China at property consulting firm Knight Frank, warned that there was a chance the sale of the commercial sites could be scrapped.
“It will be a year where we see developers selling inventories, particularly inventory of commercial properties. Both leasing and sales of commercial properties will see weaker performance as compared to residential assets and industrial ones,” he said.