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Property News Weekly Digest
〈The Standard, June 24, 2022〉Property experts expect the Hong Kong government to increase land supply for data centers as the Covid pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of industries and the market demand for data centers has increased.

At present, Hong Kong data center users are still mainly found in banking and financial services, telecommunications and airlines, said John Siu Leung-fai, managing director at Cushman & Wakefield's Hong Kong office.

But the work-from-home trend and online shopping boom has prompted almost all industries to speed up digital transformation and has boosted demand for data centers.

Previously, the amount of data storage increased once every four years but due to the pandemic, the demand for data-center facilities and services have been rising exponentially, Siu added.

〈The Standard, June 23, 2022〉The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce says the city's economy is expected to fare better in the second half than the first, as domestic demand recovers and the consumption vouchers are rolled out.

The business environment in Hong Kong is still unfavorable and the economy has not returned to pre-pandemic levels, but the second half of the year may be better, chief executive George Leung Siu-kay said in a radio show.

Hong Kong's economy can still record positive growth this year, if the pandemic situation remains stable and travel restrictions ease, said Leung.

Quarantine regulations have been scrapped by most of Hong Kong's trading partners but the continued restrictions in Hong Kong have greatly hindered business competition, he pointed out.

〈Hong Kong Business, June 22, 2022〉As demand for office space increases, the Grade A office leasing market posted an overall net absorption of 129,000 square feet, JLL said in its latest property market monitor.

This marked the eighth consecutive month that the market’s Grade A office reported a positive momentum.

It also noted that the “flight to quality trend” prevailed because tenants are actively seeking to upgrade office space.

“New Grade A office buildings with features and technology that can support tenants' sustainability, health and wellness objectives will have an advantage in attracting tenants,” said Alex Barnes, managing director at JLL.

The vacancy rate in the overall office market declined to 9.3% in May 2022. Per area, it rose slightly to 7.6% in Central whilst Kowloon East reported the highest vacancy rate amongst major office submarkets at 12.6%.

〈Asian Post, June 21, 2022〉A broker was banned by the Hong Kong Insurance Authority for deliberately trying to hide a payment mistake he did by trying to shift the blame to his client.

The IA has taken disciplinary action against former technical representative (broker) Ho Man Tat, prohibiting him from applying to be licensed for five months beginning 17 June 2022 to 16 November 2022, on grounds of him not being fit and proper for his conduct occurring between August and December 2019.

According to the regulator, Ho received money from a client to pay for the renewal of the client’s insurance policy. However, instead of depositing the payment into Ho’s broker company’s account, as required by the regulations, Ho placed the money into his personal account and planned to pay the amount straight to the insurer.

Ho then attempted to make the payment to the insurer through an automatic teller machine however he mistakenly inputted the wrong policy details resulting in the premium being paid to a completely different insurance policy that did not belong to Ho’s client.

〈Business Post, June 20, 2022〉The Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors proposed that the government should lower the application threshold for compulsory sales of over-60-year-old buildings to 66 percent from 80 percent to speed up redevelopment.

The number of aged buildings in Hong Kong has reached 6,000 to 7,000, according to the HKIS. Lowering the threshold can use market forces to solve the problem of community aging, which allows buildings in disrepair or with potential safety problems to be sold and rebuilt.

Of the 41 objection cases, 68 percent do not fall under Land (Compulsory Sale for Redevelopment) Ordinance requirements because of valuation. But HKIS believed that most owners would agree that their property should be rebuilt based on the age and condition, according to the Compulsory Sale for Redevelopment cases in the past two years.