RICS calls on Hong Kong government to invest more resources to increase land supply

September 26, 2018 - 08:54
RICS calls on Hong Kong government to invest more resources to increase land supply

Review under-utilised lands and speedup reclamations


HONGKONG, CHINA Media OutReach - 26 September 2018 Hong Kong's government should releasethe development potential of the land in Kowloon and New Territories, speed upland reclamation and invest more funds towards addressing the city's urgentland supply issue, proposed in an official submission from RICS (Royal Institutionof Chartered Surveyors).


The city's premiere global professional  body in built environment also called for areview of development prospects in village areas of the New Territories, when serving a robust reply tothe Government of Hong Kong SAR's Task Force on Land Supply, which launched a public consultation addressing how to meetthe city's land shortfall.


A prestigious organisation representingthe surveying profession both globally and in Hong Kong, RICS welcomed the TaskForce's "Landfor Hong Kong: Our Home, Our Say!" report -- while submitting a formal, twelve-pageresponse offering ambitious recommendations to ensure the greatest progress is made. The submission focuseson making room for residential land, and increases supply for commercial usesincluding grade A office space, warehouse development, and other commercial purposes,which in turn would facilitate business growth and improve market stability.


Reviewland use and increase home density in Kowloon and New Territories


RICS called on the government to explore ways toincrease the density of homes in Kowloon and, especially, the New Territories, bringing housing density levels closer to those found on Hong Kong Island. This should include more efficiently deploying existing public housingresources with lower plot ratio than the current permissible ratio applied toprivate development. Such measures would help reduce the existing 5.3-yearwaiting time for public housing, while also addressingurban decay. RICS suggests creating incentives, such as awarding bonus plots,to make regeneration projects appealing and financially feasible to developers.


In the New Territories, the government hasidentified 3,380 hectares of land rezoned under the existing Small HousePolicy, which allocates land for housing to eligible male adults of indigenousvillage communities. RICS advocates creating greater development intensity, andexploring the potential to develop public housing, within existing "Village TypeDevelopment" zones.


"We haveidentified opportunities for further development and increasing home density inKowloon and New Territories. Any potential overcrowding, air ventilation andpublic amenity accessibility issues can be alleviated by building vertically," said Mr Clement Lau FRICS, convenor of the RICS Land Supply Task Force. "In the New Territories,there are unique challenges to address regarding Village Type Developments,especially considering that the Small House Policy is under judicial review.With that said, we believe the benefits of increasing development and buildingpublic housing in these areas are clear."


Speed up administration


Meanwhile developers often cite the lengthy lease modification and land exchange application processes as thegreatest hurdle in developing private land. RICS proposes a review of thecurrent process to speed up development, particularly in the New Territories --where private developers are understood to possess more than 1,000 hectares of underutilised agriculturalland and 1,300 hectares of brownfield sites.


RICS alsoproposes the government should establish a more comprehensive land stocktracking process. It is necessary to a build a more extensive land bank orreserve list, as well as a more thorough timetable documenting the variousconcurrent lands supply opportunities in process, to better plan for the futureand realise the greatest housing supply benefit.


Speedup reclamations


RICS supports land reclamation as a meansto increasing land supply, but urged the government to "hasten thecommissioning of the necessary feasibility and planning studies".


Moreover, RICS advised that the proposedEast Lantau Metropolis reclamation be developed as a logistics hub, rather thana business district, in order to aid Hong Kong's regional competitiveness. The land occupied by the current Kwai TsingContainer Terminals could then be freed up for development as a new "CBD3"business district, proposed by RICS in its earlier recommendation to Hong Kong 2030+ strategy.


"Developing a container port at East Lantau could offer the opportunityto build and upgrade our facilities with the latest technology, to enhance itsefficiency and capacity to safeguard it from rising competition within theregion," said Mr Clement Lau FRICS, convenor of the RICS Land Supply Task Force.


Greaterfunding means greater land supply


RICS has called on thegovernment to invest more resources in order to speed up land supplydevelopment, planning and feasibility studies -- and supports proposals to create and fund aSpecial Purpose Vehicle responsible for propelling landsupply and development.


"Bringing land supply to the market takes considerable time and capitalresources," said Mr Lau. "To expedite the process, we propose that theGovernment allocates some of the record budget surpluses it has amassed in recent years to fund theseactivities."


The complete submission isavailable online here.


**RICS Land Supply TaskForce convenor Clement Lau FRICS is available for interview

About RICS

RICSpromotes and enforces the highest professional qualifications and standards inthe development and management of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure. Our name promises theconsistent delivery of standards -- bringing confidence to the markets we serve.


We accredit 125,000 professionals and any individual or firm registeredwith RICS is subject to our quality assurance. Their expertise covers property,asset valuation, real estate management; the development of infrastructure; andthe management of natural resources, such as mining, farms and woodland. From environmental assessmentsand building controls to negotiating land rights in an emerging economy; if ourmembers are involved the same professional standards and ethics apply.


We believe that standards underpin effectivemarkets. With up to seventy per cent ofthe world's wealth bound up in land and real estate, our sector is vital toeconomic development, helping to support stable, sustainable investment andgrowth around the globe.


With offices covering the majorpolitical and financial centres of theworld, our market presence means we are ideally placed to influence policy andembed professional standards. We work at a cross-governmental level, deliveringinternational standards that will support a safe and vibrant marketplace in land, real estate, construction and infrastructure.


We are proud of our reputation and work hard to protect it, so clientswho work with an RICS professional canhave confidence in the quality and ethics of the services they receive.