The government has recorded the worst land sales performance since 2005 as a result of Hong Kong's faltering economy and weak demand for housing, market watchers said.

The use of the application list system to sell developable land should also bear some responsibility for the sharp year-on-year decline in auction sales of land in the first nine months of the financial year, they added.

'Under the system, the government gives private developers greater influence on the amount of developable land that will be supplied to the market,' said Pang Shiu-kee, managing director of surveying company SK Pang.

Under the application list system, a developer can trigger an auction by making a bid that is at least 80% of a site's reserve price.

In the ailing property market, developers were less aggressive in triggering sites for auction, in anticipation that fewer completions of new homes could help prevent a substantial fall in property prices, Mr Pang said.

South China Morning Post