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Property News Weekly Digest
〈The Standard, July 23, 2022〉Usually, the transaction volumes and prices of homes in estates along MTR lines are pretty robust. But the opening of the final section of the East Rail line, predicted to drive interest and prices along its tracks, coincided with a sluggish market so its impact was softened.

Centaline Property Agency recorded 496 second-hand sales and purchase registrations in 56 estates along MTR lines last month - a decrease of nearly 30 percent compared with May.

Increases were recorded in the per-square-foot prices at 18 estates in June while 34 saw decreases. And compared with January there was growth in per-square-foot prices at 22 estates.

Louis Chan Wing-kit, Asia Pacific vice chairman of the residential division at Centaline, explained that due to sluggish overall second-hand transaction volumes individual housing estates have been recording sporadic transactions every month, while price increases and decreases per square foot are quite different.

〈Hong Kong Business, July 22, 2022〉The overall vacancy rate for the Grade A office market inched up to 9.4% at the end of June, according to JLL’s latest Hong Kong Property Market Monitor.

The vacancy rate in Central went up from 7.6% to 7.9% but it improved to 10.2% in Tsimshatsui.

Meanwhile, the market reported negative net absorption of 96,800 square feet in June after the market experienced positive take-up for eight consecutive months.

Paul Yien, executive director of office leasing advisory at JLL, said it is normal to see take-up rate under pressure whilst the leasing market is still disrupted by the pandemic.

But he noted that some firms seek to expand in core business districts such as the Grade A office rents dropping 28.3% from the market in 2019, which appealed to tenants.

Overall net effective rents of Grade A office space edged down by 0.1% month-on-month in June.

〈Hong Kong Business, July 21, 2022〉Hong Kong’s hotel investments surged to 70.5% in the first half (H1) of 2022, marking the strong demand for the sector JLL said.

Total hotel sales volume went up from $2.3b (US$295.5m) in the second half (H2) of 2021 to $3.9b (US$504m) to H1 2022, the property research firm added.

Jonathan Law, vice president, JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group, said investors in the city are choosing hotels to convert into co-living spaces as they are eyeing assets that are highly accessible to mass transport, which will attract young professionals looking for convenient places to stay.

〈The Standard, July 20, 2022〉Hong Kong's overall consumer prices rose by 1.8 percent year-on-year last month, faster than the projected 1.6 percent growth and the 1.2 percent rise in May, according to the Census and Statistics Department.

The larger increase was mainly because the effect of the higher government's provision of electricity charge subsides in May had largely dissipated in June, the department said in a statement.

Excluding the effects of all government's one-off relief measures, the year-on-year underlying inflation rate last month was also 1.8 percent, slightly higher than the 1.7 percent seen in May.

〈Asian Post, July 19, 2022〉The retail market saw a pushback in the first half of the year due to the fifth wave, according to property expert, JLL.

Both high street shops and prime shopping centres saw rental declines in H122, with the former's rent dropping by 9.8% and the latter by 4.8%, JLL said in its latest report.

Whilst posting a rental decline in the first half, JLL said high street shops and prime shopping centres can post a rental growth of 0% to 5% for the entire year.

“We expect the market to see a return to growth when restrictions are further lifted as the pandemic situation stabilises. The timing of tourism restoration remains critical to a more visible retail market recovery in the long run,” JLL said.