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Property News Weekly Digest
〈The Straits, March 30, 2019〉A law firm involved in almost all initial public offerings of real estate investment trusts (Reits) in Hong Kong is calling for the development of Reits for Beijing's ambitious Greater Bay Area plan, seen as one of the key engines of growth for China in the coming years.

Law firm Baker McKenzie said the creation of Greater Bay Area Reits, or G-Reits, will open the door for the city's tepid Reit market to rejuvenate itself and catch up with other markets in the region, including that of Singapore.

The firm on Wednesday urged the market and regulators to consider developing a G-Reit framework.

Mr Milton Cheng, managing partner at Baker McKenzie's Hong Kong office, said the G-Reits, comprising bay area real estate assets listed in the territory, will "increase the critical mass, liquidity and in-ternational competitiveness of the Hong Kong Reit market".

"The structure we're proposing here actually is similar to what Singapore Reits (S-Reits) already have - external management model, similar to what all but one of the Hong Kong Reits have," he said.

"So in a sense, it's learning from good experience that the Singapore market has already built up." The firm suggested that for a start, assets in the Greater Bay Area would be listed in Hong Kong as the city already has a mature Reit market and structure.

The structure we're proposing here actually is similar to what Singapore Reits (S-Reits) already have - external management model, similar to what all but one of the Hong Kong Reits have. So in a sense, it's learning from good experience that the Singapore market has already built up.

〈China Daily, March 29, 2019〉The Guangdong-Hong KongMacao Greater Bay Area will foster closer collaboration and integration within the region, an industry official said.

Vincent Lo Hong-shui, chairman of the Hong Kong Trade and Development Council, said: “It (the GBA) is a key concept of making the members of the region closer.”

According to Lo, the region’s current GDP is about $1.5 trillion, equivalent to that of South Korea.

“Hong Kong has a full agenda (for its development) and we need to upgrade our own economy, not just simply focus on finance or real estate. We (HK) need to play an integrated role,” said Lo, who is also the chairman of Hong Kong-based Shui On Group.

“Hong Kong has never been strong in technology, but we do have some advantages that can work with the ecosystem, such as with cities like Shenzhen in commercializing the technologies.”

Lo was speaking on the sidelines of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2019 this week in South China’s Hainan province. The topic of the panel session was Dialogue with Thinkers: Innovation and Openness — New Vitality of Asian Economies.

Digital technologies promote integration and cooperation in Asia, said Khor Hoe Ee, chief economist of the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office.

“Technology is connectivity. The more connectivity we (Asia) have, the more benefits will be generated and the more synergy we will have,” he said.

〈Asian Post, March 28, 2019〉Hong Kong-listed luxury hotel and resort chain operator Shangri-La Group yesterday unveiled plans for a 300-room hotel next to venues for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

The property, the company's sixth hotel in China's capital, will be built in the former industrial complex of Shougang Park and developed as part of an urban regeneration project.

"We are committed to deepening out investment and to be part of Beijing's renewed growth plans," Hui Kuok, chairman at Shangri-La, said at a signing ceremony with Shougang Group in Beijing. "The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics will be a historic occasion for the host city, and equally for us at Shangri-La, as we open our doors to welcome the international sports community coming for the games."

Lim Beng Chee, Shangri-La's chief executive, said: "The project came into being for the Olympics and is expected to become one of the official hotels for the games."

Shougang Park covers an area of 8.63 square kilometres and was once known for its iron and steel making. In its heyday, the complex contributed about a quarter of Beijing's total income.

In 2005, the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner, approved a plan to relocate the site to Hebei province before the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, in a move designed to ease the city's air pollution problem.

〈China Daily, March 27, 2019〉Mainland developer Jiayuan International says it will relaunch its "micro home" building in Tuen Mun around mid-April, pledging to give buyers a "surprise" in the project, which remains 99 per cent unsold.

Analysts said prices at the 356-flat T Plus, which is slated for completion in September, might be slashed by up to 15 per cent.

Of 27 flats on offer, only two were sold during a marketing launch on December 8, as the project competes with a high volume of new supply in Tuen Mun.

The project featured homes in layouts as small as 128 sq ft priced from around HK$2.85 million.

"The time of launch will be as soon as possible. As soon as when we make the launch, you will have a surprise," said Alex Kwong, project general manager at Jiayuan.

Kwong said T Plus suffered from an ill-timed release of new flats, adding a chill descended over the housing market such that "no project sold very well".

〈The Standard, March 26, 2019〉Most of the 20 major housing estates in Hong Kong saw rises in bank valuations this month, with small and medium-sized flats performing the best.

Meanwhile, a business insider predicted the uptrend will continue. About 17 of the 20 major estates recorded increases in bank valuations ranging from 1 to 6 percent, according to data from three major banks.

Tai Koo Shing reported the greatest month-on-month growth. The valuation of a 1,021 square foot unit in the estate climbed 6 percent from February to HK$21.95 million, after being valued at HK$20.78 in January.

Another unit in the same estate, measuring 598 sq ft, is valued at HK$11.14 million this month, up 0.5 percent from February. New Territories' estates also saw improvement.

City One in Sha Tin recorded a series of transactions recently, leading to rises in bank valuations. A 327 sq ft unit at City One saw a 4.2 percent hike to HK$5.49 million in March. At Kingswood Villas in Tin Shui Wai, a 557 sq ft flat gained 4.1 percent from February to HK$5.34 million.