Henderson Land Development can supply Hong Kong with 45,000 new flats from its own land bank, more than the government’s annual target, Chairman Lee Shau-kee has boasted in his official biography.

According to the book, Lee Shau-kee, who currently owns more than 40 million sq ft of rural land, is said to have taken advantage of the financial crisis in 2007 to increase his land bank by acquiring old flats on more than 40 sites and 10 million sq ft of agricultural land.

Most of the sites are in primary development areas in the northern New Territories, including Kwu Tung, Ping Che, Fanling and Hung Shui Kiu.

“One can see Lee’s investment strategy as courageous and decisive,” said the book.

“His moves in investing properties have long been a general indicator of the market.”

Considering all types of land, including redevelopment and farmland sites, Lee Shau-kee owns a potential floor area of 32 million sq ft, which is adequate to supply 45,000 flats.

Despite the government’s rule of supplying land for at least 20,000 new flats each year, data from the Rating and Valuation Department reveals that the actual supply of flats fell to 7,160 in 2009 from over 10,000 in 2007.

This means the possible supply from Mr. Lee is four times the government’s annual goal and six times the actual supply in 2009.

Unlike sites acquired at auctions, where developments must take place within a specified period, Mr. Lee’s land bank is said to be potential supply because a land premium must be paid for transforming farmland into residential use and negotiations with the government usually take several years.

Authored by financial commentator Anita Leung Fung-yee, the book follows an earlier biography of Lee Shau-kee, published in 1997.

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