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Property News Weekly Digest
〈The Standard, June 2, 2022〉As the epidemic continues to stabilize in Hong Kong, overall property market sentiment has improved, leading to a rise in bank valuations of units at some housing estates.

Of the 20 major housing estates, nine - mainly the top 10 blue-chip estates - saw their unit valuations increase month on month by between 0.47 and 5.77 percent last month.

Industry insiders reckon the increases mainly reflected the transaction situation in the first half of last month, which was on an upward trajectory, and the sector will continue to show that trend in prices and volumes continue in the future.

Of the estates, Tsuen Wan Centre recorded the largest growth in valuations, with a 377-square-foot home given a value of HK$4.95 million last month, which was a 5.77 percent increase compared to the April figure of HK$4.68 million.

〈The Standard, June 1, 2022〉Mixed-use units have seen disputes between landlords and tenants after legislators last month passed a temporary law that stops Hong Kong landlords from evicting tenants who can't pay rent on time in specified sectors.

The bill, which came into effect this month and lasts until the end of July, states that landlords cannot recover any outstanding rent during a three-month protection period from tenants in sectors such as retail and catering businesses. But it does not cover offices and factories.

Under the bill landlords can be liable to a fine equal to twice the amount of the rent or no less than HK$50,000 if they violate the law.

Property insiders say some tenants use units for basing a retail business in their offices due to the high rents in the SAR and argued such tenants should not be covered by the bill.

〈Hong Kong Business, May 30, 2022〉Prices of residential properties along the East Rail Line New Territories portion will boost its momentum in the short-to-medium term, following the new East Rail Line cross-harbour section’s opening, real estate analyst, JLL, said.

In a statement, JLL said the extension of the East Rail Line to Hong Kong Island will cut travelling time between New Territories and the urban areas on Hong Kong Island. This improved connectivity will be conducive to demand for residential prices in the New Territories supporting their capital values.

To further prove its point, JLL cited that residential price in Whampoa went up 24% in the overall market when the Whampao station of the Kwun Tong Line extension opened in October 2016 and year-end 2017.

Provided that the properties are “reasonably priced,” JLL Greater China Research Head Nelson Wong said they have the great potential to become the next “hotcake.”

〈China Daily, May 29, 2022〉Property sales in Hong Kong went up by 63.8% in May however it is 11.3% lower compared to the year before, according to the data by the Land Registry.

The total consideration for such agreements rose 84.3% from April to $77b in May, but a 12.1% YoY compared to the same time last year.

Of the agreements, 6,202 were for residential units, up 59.1% from April but 12.5% lower than a year ago. The total consideration of residential units was $58b, an increase of 65.1% compared to April but down 24.5% YoY.

There were 475,130 land register searches last month.

〈Hong Kong Business, May 29, 2022〉In the wake of the local epidemic situation, the total retail sales increased by 11.7% in April this year, compared with the same period in 2021, the Census and Statistics Department revealed.

After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the provisional estimate of the volume of total retail sales for the month went up 8.1% on a yearly basis.

Of the total retail sales value in April, online sales accounted for 8.2%. Provisionally estimated at $2.5b, the online retail sales rose 34.8% compared with 2021 figures.

Meanwhile, the value of sales of clothing was down by 0.3% in April over a year earlier, followed by sales of motor vehicles and parts (-1.4%), and books, newspapers, stationery and gifts (-10.5%).