Northern Metropolis triggers land rush

Property | Staff reporter 21 Oct 2021

Real-estate developers are trying to get a foothold in the Yuen Long and Northern districts ahead of the 300-square-kilometer Northern Metropolis development plan unveiled in the latest policy address, which is expected to provide up to 926,000 flats upon completion.

Henderson Land Development (0012), whose land reserves in the New Territories are about 44.6 million square feet, has the largest holding among all property developers in Hong Kong.

The developer holds a total land area of 1.38 million sq ft in Fanling North and Kwu Tung North New Development Areas, its interim report said this year.

Three separate land lots in Fanling North are eligible for in-situ land exchange - private developers can apply to rezone the agricultural land as residential sites with a land premium payable. They are expected to offer an aggregate gross floor area of about 3.5 million sq ft.

Wheelock Properties will increase its investment in the area covered by the proposed Metropolis, said chairman Stewart Leung Chi-kin, after the group won the tender of the area 24 lot in Kwu Tong at HK$4.1 billion, or HK$8,499 per sq ft, in July.

The land price in Kwu Tung rocketed more than 18 percent in three months. Another residential site in area 25 was won by Sun Hung Kai Properties in April (0016), with a price per square foot of HK$7,814 or a total land premium of HK$8.6 billion.

The project will mainly provide small to medium-sized flats to lure first-time home-buyers, said the developer, which will invest HK$7 billion to HK$8 billion in the development.

Wheelock also joined hands with Henderson Land to file an application to the government's land sharing pilot scheme, which involved 19.3-hectare private lots and adjoining government land at She Shan Road and Lam Kam Road in Tai Po. The development plan will churn out a total of 12,120 flats - 70 percent will be public housing or "starter homes" and 30 percent private housing flats.

Besides the $8.6 billion Kwu Tung site, Sun Hung Kai Properties has many new residential projects in the Yuen Long district that are about to launch - including the second phase of Wetland Seasons Bay in Tin Shui Wai, The Yoho Hub above the Yuen Long MTR station and the Tin Wing Light Rail Terminus project.

New World Development (0017) holds more than 14 million sq ft of farmland in the Northern Metropolis area. Several new projects are to be launched. One million sq ft are involved in phases 2 and 4 of the Lung Tin Tsuen Project, and the Tong Yan San Tsuen phases 3 and 4 projects.

By October last year, CK Asset (1113) had already submitted an application to develop 1,136 residential flats on two sites at Kwu Tung to the Town Planning Board. The two sites are between Tong Kok and Beas River, and cover 191,500 sq ft with about 806,000 sq ft of buildable gross floor area.

The developer also has ongoing projects in areas of the Northern Metropolis, including the LYOS in Hung Shui Kiu.

Separately, Wing Tai Properties (0369) won the tender in June for a residential site at the junction of Fan Lam Road and Castle Peak Road, Kwu Tung for HK$2.6 billion.

It is necessary to expedite the urbanization in the New Territories as the city needs 9,000 hectares of land in the next 30 years, a spokesperson of Our Hong Kong Foundation says.

The supply of land and housing units cannot catch up with the demand as the progress of new town development has slowed down noticeably in the past two decades. He said only 20 percent of land in Hong Kong has been fully developed into urban areas, far less than the 47 percent in Shenzhen and 73 percent in Singapore.

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November 2021

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