on 3 May 1999
Legislative Council Panel on Housing
Sandwich Class Housing Scheme
At the meeting on 30 March 1999, Members discussed two Sandwich Class Housing Scheme (SCHS) developments. This paper informs Members of the latest developments.
2. SCHS aims at providing housing to those who are unable to afford flats in the private sector, and yet are ineligible for public housing. So far, about 3,300 flats have been completed. The Pinnacle is a SCHS development in Tseung Kwang O which provides 1,424 flats. They were pre-sold in August/September 1997 at an average price of $3,500 ft2 (38% discount to the then full market value). Another SCHS development, Highland Park in Kwai Chung, was pre-sold in April/May 1998 at an average price of $3,625 ft2 (31% discount to the then full market value).
3. While the Housing Society had fulfilled its legal obligation in the Agreement for Sale and Purchase to obtain an Occupation Permit in September 1998, final stage of construction works continued with some necessary rectification and improvement works. To ensure that the quality of the flats is of a satisfactory standard, the Housing Society has taken prompt action to rectify all the defects and improve the finishing of the flats. Project consultants and an extra team of independent surveyors have also inspected every unit before they are handed over to purchasers. In addition, the Housing Society has undertaken to follow up and make good any further defects reported by the purchasers. The Society has recently started inviting purchasers of this project in batches to complete assignment of the property. Meanwhile, special arrangements have also been made to enable purchasers to view their own flats before completion of assignment.
4. So far, 921 Completion Notices have been issued to the purchasers in batches with dates for completion of assignment between 20 April and 10 May. 30 of them have completed the assignment and about 90 have been given a week's extension within which they are eligible to apply for a top-up mortgage loan provided by the Society. As rectification and improvement works has progressed smoothly, the Society plans to invite the remaining purchasers in batches to complete assignment of the property within April.
5. In view of the problems encountered in the case of The Pinnacle, the Housing Society will step up its quality control of projects under the SCHS by the following measures:
- hiring more professionals in related fields to monitor the quality of work at every stage of construction;
- setting up mock-up flats on site for benchmarking; and
- employing independent building surveyors nearer completion to certify that the flats are of a satisfactory standard, and to assist purchasers in the inspection and taking over of flats.
6. Some flat purchasers have recently complained that the sales brochures of Highland Park did not provide information on the construction of Government quarters near the development. The proposal of Government quarters was made by the Government Property Agency towards the end of 1997. The project was subsequently co-ordinated and undertaken by the Architectural Services Department. In line with usual practice, the Architectural Services Department consulted the relevant departments, such as the Environmental Protection Department, Transport Department and Planning Department for their views on the environmental, traffic and other impacts of the project. The Kwai Tsing Provisional District Board was consulted on the proposed project around January 1998. The project was approved by the Public Works Sub-Committee of the Provisional Legislative Council in mid-February 1998 and the Finance Committee in late February 1998. During the process, the Housing Society has not been specifically consulted on the construction of the project. Representatives of the purchasers, accompanied by the Hon. Lee Wing-tat, met the Deputy Secretary for Housing and the representatives of the Housing Society and Government departments concerned on 20 April 1999 to express their views on this matter.
7. At present, there is no legislation regulating the disclosure of information in sales brochures by property developers in the sale of uncompleted flats. In order to enhance transparency of sales descriptions and consumer protection, we plan to introduce a bill into the Legislative Council in 1999 to regulate the content of sales brochures. The proposed bill was discussed by this Panel on 30 March 1999 and has the support of the Panel.