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Property News Weekly Digest
〈The Standard, Mar 18, 2023〉With the reopening of the border and an influx of visitors to Hong Kong, there has been a surge in the opening of drugstores in prime locations.

Following a spate of new leases in prime Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok locations to drugstores, a street-level shop on Nathan Road has been leased out for HK$176 per square foot, representing a 27 percent increase, to a pharmacist amid increased demand.

The previous tenant operated a mask store for almost three years during the pandemic.

Completed in 1937, 190 Nathan Road at the junction of Austin Road is a Grade III historical building and a landmark in the district.

〈Hong Kong Business, Mar 17, 2023〉It has been over two decades since rent controls have been implemented in Hong Kong, a city that has usually been laissez-faire with price controls; which is why for low-income families dwelling in subdivided units (SDUs) who have been grappling with high rents, plans under the Landlord and Tenant (Consolidation) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 to prohibit any increase in the rent for the first term of tenancy, which is equivalent to two years, should be welcomed.

On renewal, which is another two years, landlords of the so-called “cage houses” or “coffin homes” may only increase rent up to a 10% cap, but they may be restricted to an even lower rent rise.

The rent hike for the second term tenancy is determined by the percentage change of the citywide rental index published by the Rating and Valuation Department, which means that landlords cannot always increase the second term rent by 10%.

〈Asian Post, Mar 16, 2023〉Improved buyers’ confidence will help raise the number of residential home sales, which will be affected by full reopening of the Hong Kong and Chinz border, Cushman & Wakefield said.

The property expert said the transactions are expected to climb 50% to over 12,500 sales.

This will also be driven by Ad Valorem Stamp Duty reduction, which will accelerate project launches.

In 2023, residential transaction numbers are expected to rise by 25%–35% year-on-year (YoY) and prices by 5% to 10% YoY.

〈The Reuters, Mar 15, 2023〉China's embattled property sector made new progress in its climb out of a months-long slump as official data for January-February on Wednesday showed much narrower declines in home sales, developer investment and construction starts.

Home sales by floor area in the first two months of 2023 fell 3.6% from a year earlier, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), compared with a 24% decline for the whole of 2022.

The narrower sales decline followed a rise in new home prices in January, the first uptick in a year, as buyers, while still cautious, found solace in a slew of supportive policies, expectations of more stimulus steps and China's exit from its crushing zero-COVID regime.

〈Asian Post, Mar 14, 2023〉Hongkong Land’s Centricity Flex, flexible office space reported 90% occupancy of its 25,000-square feet workspace.

In a statement, Hongkong Land said the Centricity Flex was launched in 2021 and has been attracting financial and professional services tenants including Discover Financial Services, Toscafund and Argyll Scott.

Centricity Flex is a collection of spaces and services located “in the heart of Central to enhance and ease the working life of Hongkong Land tenants.”