Monday, November 30, 2015   

Flats frenzy puts system in spotlight

Eli Lau and Matthew Lee

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Hong Kong government and legislators have voiced concerns about sales of uncompleted flats after suggestions last month's buying frenzy at The Arch, a West Kowloon luxury development, was stoked by reports of prices hitting levels not seen since 1997.

Democratic Party chairman Lee Wing-tat Wednesday urged the government to tighten the system to prevent developers releasing incomplete information to the public.

Sun Hung Kai Properties, joint developer of The Arch, said last month a buyer paid HK$168 million, or HK$31,300 per square foot, for a 5,360 square foot penthouse, supposedly the most paid for a home since 1997.


Lee said Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands Michael Suen agreed with him the so-called internal sales system for unfinished flats is not transparent enough.

"He agreed that developers should provide a price list for all units and announce the accurate prices of units sold," Lee said after meeting Suen.

Suen said the government is in close contact with the Consumer Council, the Real Estate Developers' Association and the Estate Agents Authority to monitor the sales mechanism for uncompleted flats.

"We have asked the developers' association to follow up the case [of The Arch]," he said. "The Land Registry receives a record of every transaction, but since this particular transaction has not yet been completed, we do not have sufficient information on hand."

Suen denied the government is trying to intervene in the market.

"It is not a matter of intervention," he said. "We are mainly concerned with the dissemination of information. Was the information true or not?"

Developers, however, admit the government's decision to get involved in the pricing issue makes them uneasy.

Tony Tse, general manager of sales at Henderson Land, said the current sales system worked well.

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