Articles: Real estate

Duo charged by ICAC with conspiracy to defraud Lands Department over HK$1bn Yuen Long small house project
ICAC, 16-Mar-2022
Edward Wong Kwong Wing is a solicitor. Ching Chan Ming is a Heung Yee Kuk member of Yuen Long District Council. The charges involve the alleged pre-sale of "Ding Rights" of male indigenous inhabitants carrying a Y-chromosome inherited from an 1898 villager.
Webb on "Backchat" re the Policy Address
RTHK, 7-Oct-2021
URA ready to build subsidised flats, but needs land to move faster, chairman saysL(CSFR)O
South China Morning Post, 6-Sep-2021
2 words, C.K.: "mission creep". URA's mission is in its name: Urban Renewal, not developing vacant land. Private sector can do that. Indeed, since 1999 with the Land (Compulsory Sale for Redevelopment) Ordinance, the private sector can do urban renewal too, and the URA has outlived its utility. Shut it down and let the market determine how much to pay to consolidate old buildings, buy out the minorities and redevelop.
SFC launches Govt welfare scheme for property tycoons
Well, not all tycoons, only larger ones. (10-May-2021)
Webb on "Backchat" re Lantau Tomorrow and our proposal for a COVID Isolation Compensation SchemeCICS
RTHK, 19-Nov-2020
Part 2 on COVID and CICS begins at 47:26. See our article of 16-Nov-2020.
Webb on "Backchat" re HK budget
RTHK, 28-Feb-2020
Webb on 'Backchat' re land, housing and Disneyland
RTHK, 8-Jan-2020 image
HK's richest family urges Govt to help its hotels
Bloomberg, 16-Dec-2019
"We really need it" says Adam Kwok, son of convicted felon Thomas Kwok. What we really need is for tycoons like him to give up corporate voting for seats in the Functional Constituencies and Election Committee - including hotels, real estate and transport, all of which have corporate voters controlled by his family. 1 worker, 1 vote. This simple step would democratise HK.
New World (0017) to donate 3m sq ft of land
RTHK, 25-Sep-2019
There was no mention of a farmland giveaway in today's annual results. Having bought the land with shareholders' money, the directors should explain how giving it away enhances shareholder value. If it doesn't, that's a breach of fiduciary duty. What do they expect the company to gain in return? Is this just a kowtow to deter further government intervention, or to get permission to develop better land? Why not instead support abolition of corporate voting for the CE Election Committee and Legislative Council? No, that would be too much!
4 charged with rigging village house auction
ICAC, 27-Mar-2019
Asset (Mis)management
Lion Rock Institute, 25-Jan-2019
Nick Sallnow-Smith hits the rusty HK Government nail on the head.
Webb on "Backchat" re the HK property market, rates and taxes
RTHK, 13-Dec-2018
Inside Job: evidence from the Chinese housing market
SSRN, 9-Dec-2018
A trove of data from the Beijing Housing Provident Fund shows that government officials, particularly those who are senior and closer to the decision-making process, are more likely than non-officials to buy housing before policy changes to restrict purchases are announced.
Small house, big issueFixing the Small House Policy
South China Morning Post, 14-Oct-2018
David Dodwell mentions the proposals we published in Sep-2014 in "Fixing the Small House Policy". We propose a reverse tender to extinguish a quota of claims of village men descended on the male line from 1898 (and their unborn male descendants or sons under 18 years old). We now call this the Buyout of Indigenous Rights To Houses (BIRTH) scheme. At the same time, the policy should be amended so that all new land leases for village houses can only be transferred to other indigenous men, and cannot be upgraded and flipped into the open market.
Webb on "Backchat" re Policy Address
RTHK, 11-Oct-2018
Concerns grow for endangered species at Fanling
The natural habitat of the lesser-spotted Hong Kong golfer is at risk. (26-Sep-2018)
ExCo convenor Bernard Chan calls for private housing price-fixingHK Government invasion of the housing market
South China Morning Post, 30-Aug-2018
He writes: "The government could decide how big flats should be, how many should be public housing, or how much the private ones should cost." That's central planning at its worst. Why not just supply land, provide means-tested public rental vouchers to those in need, and let the free market work for everyone else? See our article "HK Government invasion of the housing market", 2-Jul-2018.
How Britain’s post-war debt turned a small US outpost in Hong Kong into a staging area for its cold war operations in Asia
South China Morning Post, 18-Aug-2018
A follow-up to the Webb-site revelations of the USA's longest land lease in China.
40 months’ jail for offering HK$600k bribes over small house projects
ICAC, 17-Aug-2018
Duo guilty of offering HK$600k bribes over small house projects
ICAC, 16-Aug-2018
For bribing the unnamed Village Resident Representative of Lai Chi Shan Village, Tai Po, to withdraw an objection to a house being developed and not to object to 9 more houses.
Land deal for US consulate site in Hong Kong was proposed just six months before city was handed back to China in 1997
South China Morning Post, 11-Aug-2018
A follow-up to the Webb-site revelations of the USA's longest land lease in China.
Revealed: the USA has the longest land lease in China
Breaking through false search results at the HK Land Registry, Webb-site finds that the USA in 1960 was granted a unique option to purchase the freehold of its HK Consulate site. In 1999, Tung Chee Hwa's government agreed to convert this to a 999-year lease and remove the restriction on sale for only HK$44m, granting the USA a potential windfall and the longest leasehold land in China. (6-Aug-2018)
HK Government invasion of the housing market
HK Chief Executive Carrie Lam has ended her first year with a new set of interventions, building on the crumbling foundations of her predecessors. It's time for a major policy rethink. A government's role is to ensure that people have a home, not that they own one. And the government doesn't need to own homes either. (2-Jul-2018)
DAB wants public money to help private property owners to maintain their buildings.HAD Building Management
RTHK, 18-May-2018
Why should property owners get a hand-out? Those who own property should maintain it. If they have no cash, they can either sell it and rent somewhere else, or get a mortgage or (if elderly) a reverse mortgage. If they lack an Owners' Corporation for the building, the Home Affairs Department will help them set one up.
Webb on "Backchat" re taxing vacant flats
RTHK, 19-Mar-2018
Trio in court for offering HK$600k bribes over small house projects
ICAC, 5-Sep-2017
They allegedly conspired to offer $60k per house for 10 village houses, to an unnamed Resident Representative of Lai Chi Shan Village in Tai Po, for not objecting to the development.
Does HK's land sale system need a new lease of life?HK Land Lease Reform
South China Morning Post, 18-Apr-2017
Shirley Zhao's article covers our proposals for Land Lease Reform published on 1-Nov-2010 (at the second link). Let's hope that the new CE puts that into effect.
HKSARG continues effort to reduce supply of residential rental units
HK Government, 11-Apr-2017
Yes, that's what they're doing, by insisting that unless you pay punitive stamp duty, you can only own 1 flat, which you will probably occupy, and meanwhile, if you are moving to HK, you can't own one for 7 years until you become a permanent resident, so you have to rent, if you can find an owner who doesn't occupy their flat.
Webb on "Backchat" re Government intervention and red tape
RTHK, 15-Mar-2017
Webb on "Backchat" re Policy Address
RTHK, 19-Jan-2017
"Foreigners Piling into HK Homes"
Bloomberg, 20-Oct-2016
Fact check: the 250 who paid the 15% Buyer's Stamp Duty (not being Permanent Residents of HK) accounted for only 3.2% of 7826 purchases in September, and an untold number of sales, so we don't even know if they were net buyers. 96.8% of buyers were Permanent Residents.
Twelve jailed for fraud over construction of small houses
ICAC, 4-Dec-2015
Ding ding! There must be quite a few indigenous men looking over their shoulders tonight - monetising ding "rights" and entering into forward sale agreements over their village houses is widespread. They are not rights but a product of misguided 1970s Government policy. A charge against David Li Yam Pui of conspring to bribe the head of the Shatin Rural Committee, Mok Kam Kwai, was apparently dropped though, and Mok was never charged.
Ngan Yuk Yip via Chan Chiu Shing v Herbal-T (HK) Ltd
HK Court of First Instance, 30-Oct-2015
An elderly widow wins her claim for adverse possession of a plot of land in Yuen Long, apparently worth HK$5.8m.
REDA v Building Authority
HK Court of Appeal, 27-May-2015
Can developers file building plans for land they don't own and have no realistic prospect of controlling? The case leapfrogs the Court of Appeal and goes to the Court of Final Appeal. This is about developers' ability to get approvals before plot ratios or height limits are reduced by rezoning, thereby giving them an advantage when bidding for the land against those who lack those approvals.
Li Kwok Ching v Secretary for Justice
HK Court of First Instance, 31-Mar-2015
Mr Li fails in his attempt to claim adverse possession of a 753 sq ft piece of Government land in Tsu Kang Hang Tau, Sheung Shui, next to his house.
The architect and surveyor cartels
Webb-site finds written evidence of price-fixing and other anti-competitive practices at the HK Institute of Architects, HK Institute of Landscape Architects and HK Institute of Surveyors. But they do have 1 legislator and 30 seats in the CE's Election Committee, so when will C Y Leung activate the Competition Ordinance? (25-Jan-2015)
An aerial tour of HK's monopolies and anti-competitive practices
The slides from a presentation by Webb-site founder David Webb to the Asian Competition Forum at Polytechnic University this morning. When you get to slide 30, click the box to launch the online video. (9-Dec-2014)
LRC releases report on adverse possession
HK Government, 20-Oct-2014
Fixing the Small House Policy
We look at a recent court case which again highlights the rampant abuse of the Small House Policy for the New Territories. We propose a return to the original policy intent, creating an internal market for indigenous housing, together with a voluntary, market-based scheme to surrender the claims of indigenous men and their under-age and unborn male descendants. (9-Sep-2014)
Chan Yau v Calvin Chan & Joe Chan Cho Wing
HK Court of First Instance, 5-Sep-2014
Centaline Property Agency Ltd v Irene Fung Wai Yee
HK District Court, 30-Jun-2014
SSD tragedy: a husband passed half a flat to his wife on 23-Aug-2011, shortly before he died, making them joint owners. She became sole owner on his death, and agreed to sell on 9-Apr-2012 but was subsequently faced with 10% Special Stamp Duty on her half because she had acquired it within 1 year of the sale. So she agreed to cancel the sale, paid the buyer $180k and now has to pay the agent $105.6k in commission. And all because the Government thinks SSD is a good idea, and that she must be a "speculator".
REDA v Building Authority
HK Court of First Instance, 30-Jun-2014
Virtue Union Co Ltd v Soo Moon Kuen & Daphne So Wong Tak Hing
HK Court of First Instance, 22-Apr-2014
The case concerns the HK$120m sale of 16C Shan Kwong Rd, Happy Valley, an old 4-storey block built in 1953, owned by the same family since 1960 and surrounded by skyscrapers. An orphan lot (one that got left behind), it will presumably be redeveloped into a tall, thin pencil building.
Highail Co Ltd & Chung Po Chuen v Director of Lands
HK Lands Tribunal, 15-Apr-2014
In a URA compulsory purchase, the tribunal rules in favour of separate owners of neighbouring lots, at 213-215 Yee Kuk Street, that the development potential of combining the lots must be included in the buyout price. Neither of them would be a willing seller if their lots were valued on a stand-alone basis.
Wong Wing Man v Wong Chung On & Ng Shoot Heung
HK District Court, 4-Apr-2014
A young woman wins an adverse possession claim on a property she occupied at 17 years of age, on which rent has not been collected since Dec-1998, so the 12 years are up and the registered owner loses the property. The flat is in a building which is or was a target of Richfield Realty Ltd, owned by Richfied Group (0183), for redevelopment.
Lou Siu Ping & Tam Sin Yee v Lam Tsz Man & Kenneth Woo Pui Ki
HK Court of Appeal, 20-Dec-2013
A small village house case in which the indigenous villager, after pre-selling the 2nd floor and roof to the plaintiffs, mortgaged the property, and it was foreclosed, leaving the buyers with no property. They sucessfully sued their lawyer, Kenneth Woo Pui Ki, for breach of duty of care, and his appeal is rejected. "Ding" houses cannot be sold by the indigenous villagers until 5 years after grant; this forward contract was less than 2 years after grant, but it is typical of the way in which villagers with a Y-chromosome from 1898 can monetise their dings.
Kong Yunming v Director of Social Welfare
HK Court of Final Appeal, 17-Dec-2013
A landmark case on Articles 25, 36 and 145 of the Basic Law. As Justice Bokhary notes: "It will be noticed at once that these guarantees of equality are not confined to permanent residents. Article 25...speaks of all residents...". This ruling thus has implications for the proposed Buyer's Stamp Duty and Double Stamp Duty, which both discriminate against non-Permanent Residents. It adds support to our view that the proposed duties are unconstitutional.
Webb on 'Backchat" re the proposed stamp duties
RTHK, 29-Nov-2013
The proposed laws on Buyer's Stamp Duty, higher rate and longer period of Seller's Stamp Duty, and Double Stamp Duty are still in LegCo Bills Committees. The show discusses whether they should be withdrawn.
Second submission to LegCo on DSD
This morning's session with public delegations, in which a junior civil servant was fielded, leaves a number of fundamental policy questions to be answered by the principal officials. Here they are. (13-Jun-2013)
Avoiding double stamp duty
A HK$1.6bn deal announced yesterday neatly demonstrates how the proposed Double Stamp Duty will drive higher-end transactions into the corporate transfer market, while freezing up the low end with prohibitive taxation. We'll be speaking against DSD in LegCo tomorrow. (12-Jun-2013)
Government sells last portion of Citibank Plaza to Champion REIT
HK Government, 30-May-2013
The Government, via Inland Revenue, should also collect 8.5% stamp duty (if its proposed Double Stamp Duty law is passed), or $183.2m. On the Government's figures, the GFA is 6161 sq.m. or about 66,317 sq ft, so the price is $32,500/gsf, or $35,262 including double stamp duty. Champion REIT now owns 100% of Citibank Plaza until 30-Jun-2047.
The latest on C Y Leung's basement
HK Government, 29-May-2013
...or how to avoid a void.
Government invites tenders for 4 floors of Citibank TowerGazette
HK Government, 15-Mar-2013
These are the only bits of Citibank Plaza not owned by Champion REIT (2778), so we wonder who else will bid for them! The property sits on Inland Lot 8888, a land lease from 3-Aug-1989 to 30-Jun-2047, 34 years from now, a lot less than most of the land in Central south of Connaught Road, which sits on 999-year leases.
Interview with David Webb
HK Magazine, 7-Mar-2013
The alternative Budget Speech, 2013: Prosperity through Reform
Webb-site reveals the Hong Kong Budget Speech which should be delivered next Wednesday. (22-Feb-2013)
Webb on "Backchat" re sale of hotel suites, and fiscal reserves
RTHK, 21-Feb-2013
BSD and SSD 2.0 - submission to LegCo Bills Committee on Stamp Duty (Amendment) Bill 2012
We dissect the proposed Buyer's Stamp Duty and increase and expansion of Special Stamp Duty on residential properties in HK. Government replies to Webb-site reveal that they don't actually have data to support the discrimination between Permanent Residents and Non-PRs, even if the duty were constitutional, which it is not. (5-Feb-2013)
Webb on "Backchat" re policy address
RTHK, 17-Jan-2013
With Starry Lee (Executive Council, LegCo, DAB), Albert Ho (LegCo, DP) and Nick Brooke (Harbourfront Commission, Science and Technology Parks Corp).
LRC releases consultation paper on adverse possession
HK Government, 10-Dec-2012
Bigger room exposed as CY wall torn down
HK Standard, 30-Nov-2012
CY snubbed home queries
HK Standard, 28-Nov-2012
Illegal canopies found at home of housing official
HK Standard, 27-Nov-2012
Response statement by Duncan Pescod
HK Government, 26-Nov-2012
Government secrecy in land tenders
Since March, we've been quietly trying to persuade Government to increase transparency in land tenders, rather than publishing meaningless lists of shell bidders, often with unknown owners. The Government responded that information on who stands behind bidders was "unnecessary". That's inconsistent with its requirement that estate agents report possible money-laundering, and the secrecy also strengthens perceptions of collusion and protection of the developer cartel. (9-Nov-2012)
Webb on "Backchat" re BSD and SSD 2.0
RTHK, 30-Oct-2012
Some-Buyer's Stamp Duty
We examine HK's proposed discriminatory stamp duty on companies and non-permanent residents who buy residential property, its questionable constitutionality, its negative impacts on social harmony and the redevelopment market, and the proposed SSD 2.0. (30-Oct-2012)
Lashing for lawmaker in illegal structure rumpusSee the house on Google Maps
HK Standard, 24-Oct-2012
HK land for HK xenophobes
We explain why the proposed "HK land for HK people" scheme, while superficially appealing to voters, won't work, and we again propose measures to make the housing and tax system simpler and fairer, including elimination of stamp duty and mortgage interest deductions, and land lease reform to open the market and lower the premiums on new leases. (6-Sep-2012)
LCQ: Mak Chai-kwong on Leung Chun-ying's houses
HK Government, 4-Jul-2012
We note that the land lease expires in 2038. Will the government's discretionary policy of offering new leases without payment of premium, and with ground rent of only 3% of rateable value, continue?
New health chief sorry for flat changes
HK Standard, 4-Jul-2012
HSBC's legal case against "Occupy Central" for trespassing
Company submission, 22-Jun-2012
The exhibits include the original leases from 1857 and 1938 on the two plots of land, and the deed of dedication in 1983 followed by the deed of variation in 2006 when they shrunk the public passage area. Webb-site is putting this online in the public interest. (16MB file size).
Ex-lands boss escapes jail on rental fraud rapOur article 9-Dec-2006
HK Standard, 17-May-2012
Another silly "rental fraud" case - if he had leased out the unit and rented an identical one, then he would have been paid the same amount by the Government but not committed any offence. See our article of 9-Dec-2006.
Lou Siu Ping & Tam Sin Yee v Lam Tsz Man & Kenneth Woo Pui Ki
HK Court of First Instance, 16-May-2012
Financial Secretary explains HK property market to Friends from the rest of the Universe
HK Government, 3-May-2012
Hero Smart Corporation Ltd v Ms Tse
HK District Court, 26-Apr-2012
The plaintiff, which bought the land on 14-Apr-2008, finds that it doesn't own it because Ms Tse has gained adverse possession - she has exclusively occupied the land without permission since Jul-1997.
Public card played in row over leisure park
HK Standard, 20-Apr-2012
Kuk power player has grabbed piece of park
HK Standard, 19-Apr-2012
Webb on "Backchat" re C Y Leung's property sector policies
RTHK, 27-Mar-2012
Two houses, one rating
So it was her house and her basement? We dig deeper into York Road and explain why it matters. (20-Mar-2012)
Tenders awarded for commercial site and residential site
HK Government, 1-Mar-2012
The Tin Shui Wai commercial site goes for HK$1,470/gsf. The Peng Chau residential site goes for HK$516/gsf.
Be Henry's neighbour for only HK$220m (US$28.4m)!
Company web site, 29-Feb-2012
Now's your chance to live like Hooray Henry - only 2 doors down from him at 3 York Road, NKIL 825 is for sale. It has a "covered" pool - but no word on whether it has a wine cellar.
It's all my fault!
HK Standard, 17-Feb-2012
...and who's idea was the alleged wine cellar, tasting room and cinema then?
Tender awarded for site in Tsing Yi for HK$1280m.
HK Government, 16-Feb-2012
The winner (of 2 tenderers) Kongwell Logistics Ltd, was incorporated on 9-Nov-2011. We don't know who owns it. The other bidder, TY2 Limited, is not incorporated or registered in HK.
Seeking a better view - cranes outside Tang's home
RTHK, 16-Feb-2012
Bare the basement
HK Standard, 16-Feb-2012
Tang 'sorry' for illegal garage canopySee it on Bing maps
HK Standard, 14-Feb-2012
Tender awarded for site in Tseung Kwan O
HK Government, 12-Jan-2012
This site requires a minimum of 590 apartments and hence an average size of not more than 76.9 sq m (827 sq ft). The land premium is $3810 per sq ft. One of the unsuccessful tenderers, Guang Nuo Limited, is not incorporated or registered in HK.
Webb on "Backchat" re private recreational leases
RTHK, 19-Dec-2011
Wan Hok Taoist Assn v owners of 88-94 Pan Hoi St, Quarry Bay
HK Court of First Instance, 16-Dec-2011
The plaintiff squatted on the roof and built illegal structures in 1969 and 1974, and in an undefended action, it gains title through adverse possession - it now owns the roof. Presumably it can rent the roof out for cellphone bases or advertising. The building, part of "Seaside Mansion", but a long way from the sea, is right behind Swire's Warwick House, and ripe for redevelopment, in which case the roof owner would get a share of the sale.
Intervention and opacity in land sales
The HK Government has begun micro-managing the terms of development, while shifting from open auctions to a less transparent sealed-bid tender process. The next Chief Executive should reverse this. We also renew our call to change the financial structure of new land leases away from high-premium-low-rent to lower-premium higher-rents. (14-Nov-2011)
Donald decrees: HKEx will move
A little-noticed paragraph of the recent Policy Address dictates that HKEx will move to the offices to be developed on the site of the West Wing of the Central Government Offices. What does this say about the Government's attitude to HKEx? (14-Nov-2011)
China Railway Logistics (8089) buys Strawberry Hill house for record HK$170.98mCircular
Company announcement, 11-Nov-2011
The announcement gives the street address but not the development name. We can tell you that the property is a house in the Strawberry Hill project. The previous record for a house in this project is $123m on 9-Aug-2010, for 3200 sq ft. This one is 2880 sq ft, and the vendor is an "independent" third party.
Webb on "Backchat" re Home Ownership Scheme, transport subsidies
RTHK, 14-Oct-2011
Ms. Ho Mei Ling v Buildings Authority (re Mei Foo Sun Chuen)
HK Court of First Instance, 29-Aug-2011
The attempt to quash the Building Authority's approval fails.
Centaline Property Agency Ltd v Lento Yip Yuk Fai
HK District Court, 18-Aug-2011
And the moral of the story is this: why would you sign an agency agreement in which the agent gets paid whether or not the transaction completes? After all, if the transaction fails, then the agent can still introduce another buyer or property (depending on which side the agent is acting for) and get paid for that. Buyers: read the agency agreement before you sign it, and remember - if the agent is acting for the vendor, then there is a conflict of interests if they act for you too. You may prefer to act for yourself.
Wah Yan Mo Fan Heung v Vicwood Chong Kee Ting
HK Court of First Instance, 14-Jul-2011
Mr Chong's claim to adverse possession fails.
Sunbroad Holdings Ltd v Kwong Kai & othersStreet view
HK Court of First Instance, 24-Jun-2011
A cobbler who has been hanging his gear on the back wall of a Causeway Bay building since 1957 fails in his claim that he has gained "adverse possession" of half the thickness of the wall, or the surface of it. See it on Street View.
Birkenhead Properties and Investments Limited v Leung Fai
HK Court of First Instance, 22-Jun-2011
Webb on "Backchat" re Home Ownership Scheme
RTHK, 21-Jun-2011
Chief breaks window deadlock
HK Standard, 2-Jun-2011
Statement by CE Donald Tsang about his flat
HK Government, 1-Jun-2011
Statement by Buildings Dept about Donald Tsang's flat
HK Government, 1-Jun-2011
LCQ: statistics on unauthorised building works
HK Government, 1-Jun-2011
Home guarded
HK Standard, 1-Jun-2011
CE Donald Tsang's office responds to queries about his flat
HK Government, 31-May-2011
'Sorry' Suen tries to mend fences
HK Standard, 26-May-2011
OK, I'll pull them down now
HK Standard, 25-May-2011
I was wrong, admits Tong
HK Standard, 20-May-2011
Those who live in glass houses...
HK Standard, 19-May-2011
Accusations fly over illegal roof additions
HK Standard, 16-May-2011
Kuk seeks waiver on illegal sheds
HK Standard, 21-Apr-2011
LCQ: the Lee Garden Land
HK Government, 13-Apr-2011
This item also provides a potted history of the Cheung Chau land situation.
Webb on "Backchat" re property
RTHK, 12-Apr-2011
David Webb's 4th submission to LegCo on proposed Special Stamp Duty
Tender awarded for Yuen Long Town Lot 518
HK Government, 7-Mar-2011
The lease requires at least 960 flats and limits each flat to a saleable area of 60 sq.m., of which at least 800 shall be 35-40 sq.m. and at least 160 shall be 40-60 sq.m.. At least 5,000 sq.m. gross shall be retail use.
Now withdraw the SSD proposal
Latest disclosures show that the increase in short-term resales from 2009 to 2010 was only 1.9% of transactions, and fewer than 1 in 5 are in that category. Having abandoned one unpopular budget measure this week already, the Government should now do the right thing and abandon the Special Stamp Duty proposal. It is illegitimate, unconstitutional, creates too many unintended victims and runs the risk of chaos upon a successful judicial review. (2-Mar-2011)
Webb on "Backchat" re budget
RTHK, 24-Feb-2011
With Ronald Arculli, Ronny Tong Ka-wah (the Two Ronnies) and Kenneth Leung Kai-cheong.
Chau Kai Chik Tso & others v Secretary for Justice
HK Court of Appeal, 14-Feb-2011
The Court of Appeal grants the plaintiffs about 6.67 acres of land on the grounds of encroachment on Government Land without objection.
Birkenhead Properties and Investments Limited v Leung Fai
HK Court of First Instance, 2-Feb-2011
An adverse possession case. The plaintiff is an associated company of New World Development Co Ltd (0017).
SSD, the Basic Law, and a lesson from Singapore
The Government has responded to LegCo on our concerns that the proposed Special Stamp Duty is unconstitutional. We go further in this article, explaining why SSD would not be a legitimate tax protected by Basic Law Article 108. We'll also look at the lesson in political reality from Singapore's 1996-97 experiment, and we propose a fairer, focused alternative, in the form of a withholding system for profits tax. (30-Jan-2011)
Webb on "Backchat" re special stamp duty & other property issues
RTHK, 18-Jan-2011
Prepared remarks of David Webb appearing in LegCo on Special Stamp Duty
Hong Kong should halt new property stamp duty, let bubble burst, Webb says
Bloomberg, 4-Jan-2011
Public tender of Yuen Long Town Lot No.518
HK Government, 31-Dec-2010
LegCo invites submissions on Special Stamp Duty
HK Legislative Council, 21-Dec-2010
Submit your views to LegCo! David Webb will attend the meeting on 4-Jan at 4.30pm.
Webb-site submission to LegCo on Special Stamp Duty
HK Legislative Council, 14-Dec-2010
Webb on "Backchat" debating Special Stamp Duty with Government
RTHK, 6-Dec-2010
Stamp Duty (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2010
HK Gazette, 3-Dec-2010
Stamp Duty (Amendment) (No.2) Bill 2010 to be gazetted this Friday
HK Government, 1-Dec-2010
Government criticises Stamp Duty proposal
In a case of policy schizophrenia, the Government said a special stamp duty would be unfair, cause additional hardship to those in financial difficulties, and amount to double taxation. Then they proposed it anyway, based on a bunch of selective, deceptive and alarmist statistics, which we dissect. Legislators should kill this proposal or at least insert a sunset clause so that it expires with Donald Tsang's office. Exceptional times do not call for irrational measures. (26-Nov-2010)
Webb on "Backchat" re special stamp duty and mortgage limits
RTHK, 23-Nov-2010
Various buyers of One Beacon Hill v subsidiary of Cheung Kong (0001)
HK Court of Appeal, 12-Nov-2010
Paragraphs 31-33 provide a damning criticism of the developer's behaviour in trying to trick purchasers out of their rights to claim for late completion of the property.
Hong Kong Land Lease Reform, Part 2
We advocate a rebalancing of HK's land lease system, reducing up-front premiums in exchange for a perpetual stream of future ground rents and addressing a number of festering problems simultaneously. We also suggest a Premium Release Scheme to return hoarded capital to the market, and PRS Bonds or HIPS (HK Income Protected Securities) to help finance it, providing a new long-term investment option for retirement funds. (1-Nov-2010)
Hong Kong Land Lease Reform, Part 1
In the first of a two-part article, we examine the 169-year history of lease tenures in HK, which ended up with a high-premium low-rent land lease policy with relatively short leases. It wasn't always this way, but before making the case for change, we explain the historical context. (7-Oct-2010)
Webb on "Backchat" re HK economy
RTHK, 6-Sep-2010
Conduit controversy
After watching politicians and the Government thrashing around trying to understand the aborted transactions in a small private building in Conduit Road, it is time for Webb-site to intervene and seek truth from facts. We also call for free online access to the Land Registry to increase transparency. (12-Jul-2010)
Arrangements on Sale of Surplus HOS Flats under Phase 6 approved
HK Government, 17-May-2010
Radford Portfolio Management Ltd v Director of Lands
HK Court of Appeal, 30-Apr-2010
The appeal fails. In HK, apparently, space has only 2 dimensions. You are not free to park more than one vehicle in one space by using a stacking device, as the elevated plane amounts to a second "space". So, does the use of bunk beds result in an extension of gross floor area and hence a breach of plot ratio?
Sino-Tech (724) buys HK$280m house from anonymous vendor
Company announcement, 16-Mar-2010
The announcement fails to state who owns the vendor, or even where it is incorporated. We cannot find any trace of it. This is reportedly a record price per square foot for a house in HK. The company claims that the vendor is independent.
Larvotto - do you know the boatyard?
We probe the history of the SHKP/Kerry/Paliburg Larvotto, a luxury industrial-cum-residential project overlooking a typhoon shelter but behind boatyards and sawmills, which are noisy enough for the Environmental Protection Department to object to the Town Planning Board's approval, as minutes reveal. "Non-openable windows" were cited as a mitigating measure. Yours for just HK$25k/psf - can you see the bubble? (3-Mar-2010)
HK's stamp duty addiction
We look at the HK Government's opium-like addiction to stamp duty revenues, which have more than quintupled in 7 years. The budget asks for another fix. Stamp duty is sand in the wheels of the economy, distorting economic decisions and reducing economic output. It should be abolished rather than increased further. Higher stamp duty does not improve property affordability. HK needs a root-and-branch review of taxation to refocus on fair taxation of GDP rather than one-off measures and distortive policies. (2-Mar-2010)
Radford Portfolio Management Ltd v Director of Lands
HK Court of First Instance, 13-Nov-2009
The court rules that a stacking device in a car space breaches the land lease because it creates 2 "spaces". The car space happens to be owned by a subsidiary of Willie (0273) and goes with the duplex on 21-22/F Flat A.
A cooling-off period for new home sales
Hysterical politicians are calling for regulation of new home sales practices after a developer used some creative floor numbering and as the debate over the definition of floor area rumbles on. We suggest a less interventionist approach: a statutory cooling-off period, like the SFC is proposing for investment products. Tell us what you think in our opinion poll. (28-Oct-2009)
Programme for sale of surplus HOS flats under Phase 5
HK Government, 27-Mar-2009
Average selling prices for surplus HOS flats under Phase 4 and other sales arrangements approved
HK Government, 1-Aug-2008
Selling prices and income and asset limits approved for Phase 3 surplus HOS flats
HK Government, 31-Jan-2008
Average selling prices for surplus HOS flats under Phase 2 approved
HK Government, 12-Jul-2007
LCQ4: Surplus Home Ownership Scheme flats
HK Government, 24-Jan-2007
Surplus Home Ownership Scheme Flats on Sale in early January
HK Government, 15-Dec-2006
Webb on "Backchat" re land sale system in HK
RTHK, 29-Sep-2005
LCQ3: Sales of surplus HOS flats
HK Government, 15-Jun-2005
New Mercury Holding Corp v Secretary for Justice
HK Court of Appeal, 15-Apr-2004
An interesting pair of appeals involving residential lots in the luxury Kadoorie Hill in Kowloon. In CACV74/2013, the court rules that the "curtilage" (the land area of and around) a house must be contained within the lot. The developer had proposed 3 houses on two lots, with one of them straddling the two lots, so the developer loses the appeal. In CACV73/2013, the court rules that the curtilage of a pair of semi-detached houses should be the same as for 1 house, so the developer wins the appeal.
LCQ4: Disposal Arrangements for Surplus HOS Flats
HK Government, 24-Mar-2004
Government "recommends" to HA suspension of HOS indefinitely, termination of PSPS, halting TPS
HK Government, 13-Nov-2002
Statement on Housing Policy
HK Government, 13-Nov-2002
Transcript of SHPL's press conference
HK Government, 13-Nov-2002
HA Welcomes Government's Statement on Housing Policy
HK Government, 13-Nov-2002
Statement by Chief Secretary Donald Tsang on Home Ownership Scheme
HK Government, 5-Jun-2002
Chief Secretary's transcript
HK Government, 5-Jun-2002
Chief Secretary Donald Tsang announces suspension of HOS till Jun-2002
HK Government, 3-Sep-2001
Town Planning Bill - In reality, only a half way house
Guest writer Nicholas Brooke, Chairman of Brooke International and a member of the Town Planning Board, examines the proposals in the new Town Planning Bill and calls for the meetings of the board to be opened to the public. (2-Feb-2000)
Cyber Villas by the Sea
A critical analysis of the Government's proposed joint venture property development with Pacific Century Group. The author finds the project space is 75% residential. (22-Mar-1999)

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