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Property News Weekly Digest
〈The Standard, Oct 28, 2023〉Although the commercial property market remains weak with both the transaction volumes and prices staying low amid a high-interest-rate environment, there are still investors able to make a killing from flipping their assets.

One such was Lau Tak-wah, an investor who has wisely chosen to keep a low profile, unlike another of the same name who managed to find fame and fortune in Hong Kong cinema and stage.

Lau got himself a 27-percent return from selling a 450-square-foot shop lot in To Kwa Wan that he bought only two months ago.

〈The Standard, Oct 27, 2023〉Home sales in Portugal slumped in the first six months of the year as rising interest rates and a government decision to end incentives for some foreign buyers weighed on the housing market.

Home sales fell 22 percent to 68,000 units in the first half of the year from the same period a year earlier, Jones Lang LaSalle said.

In 2022, about 168,000 units were sold in Portugal, the highest sales volume on record.

Still, property prices are not expected to drop any time soon as demand for homes continues to outstrip availability.

〈Hong Kong Business, Oct 26, 2023〉The impact of the government’s easing of property cooling measures will be “insignificant,” according to several real estate experts.

During the latest policy address, the government announced that it will reduce the Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD) and the New Residential Stamp Duty (NRSD) from 15% to 7.5%, amongst others.

Colliers’ Head of Valuation & Advisory Services, Hannah Jeong said the impact of the reduction will be limited “since there is a gap with market expectation.”

“The special stamp duties were intended to curb speculation, but purchasing power is still heavily affected by the interest rate and the current economy though current property price has fallen by 15% as compared to the peak in 2021,” Jeong said.

〈Asian Post, Oct 25, 2023〉Hong Kong plans to strengthen its status as an international trade and financial centre by increasing trade with markets in the Belt & Road Initiative, said Chief Executive John Lee in his Policy Address.

Hong Kong will organise more outbound missions involving Hong Kong and Mainland enterprises and visits to the GBA for overseas operations.

The Hong Kong SAR will also set up additional offices for business and trade along the Belt & Road to consolidate cooperation with ASEAN markets and the Middle East.

Lee said the government will also sign an investment agreement with Turkey. A free trade agreement with Peru and more investment agreements with Bahrain, Bangladesh, and Saudi Arabia are also under negotiation.

〈BBC NEWS, Oct 24, 2023〉For two years, the company has been lurching from crisis to crisis, repeatedly failing to make payments on its multi-billion dollar loans.

Now its founder is under police surveillance, its shares are practically worthless and more than a million people in China are still waiting for their homes to be completed. On Monday, a court in Hong Kong could open a new chapter in the crisis by ordering the liquidation of some of Evergrande assets to pay back frustrated foreign investors.

Evergrande has become the poster child of China's flailing real estate sector. Its name, along with other major developers such as Country Gatden, has become associated with unsustainable debt and impending financial disaster. Yet, Evergrande clings to survival.