Hong Kong to build more artificial islandsHong Kong has short-listed six sites to boost the city’s land reserves, but it is still a long shot to addressing the immediate housing needs of citizens, government authorities warned.

The Hong Kong Development Bureau announced that reclamation sites in Sunny Bay, Lung Kwu Tan, Ma Liu Shui, Tsing Yi Southwest, Siu Ho Wan and somewhere between Lantau and HK Island will be transformed into artificial island reclamation.

“The public’s opinion will be sought on these sites. We want to know their views and at the same time we will tell them the challenges and opportunities facing each site,” an officer of the Hong Kong Development Board, who requested not to be named, said in an interview.

A perceived 60 to 100 hectares within the Sunny Bay, north of Lantue and another 150 hectares at Siu Ho Wan, might not all be fully utilised because they will get in the planned expansion of the airport.

The Lung Kwu Tan in Tuen Mun could supply 200 hectares and should be fit for residential development, but its proximity to coal power plants will also limit the residential building height.

The Development Bureau started a three-month public consultation for the island reclamation sites.

As government authorities struggle to have more land reserves for future housing projects, the city’s real estate agents are closing shops because of stale sales.

HK’s Agents

Hong Kong agents are closing branches across the city because sales continue to plunge as a result of additional cooling measure doubling the stamp duty on residential and non-residential properties valued above $HK2 million beginning February 22.

Since HK chief executive, Mr. Leung Chun-ying took office in July 2012, this has been the second increase in stamp duties, this time covering non-resident and corporate property buyers.

The Hong Kong Association Real Estate Agencies General Association General Association said in statement that an estimated 10 to 20% of agency firms are closing shop if the situation persists.

Ms Chu Kin-lan warned that some 40,000 individual agents will lose their jobs if low sales continue.

Agents associations numbering 7 have joined forces calling on the government to help revive the industry.