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Property News Weekly Digest
〈Asian Post, June 22, 2019〉The extradition bill has spurred massive protests in Hong Kong. Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has offered her apology after suspending the bill. It remains unclear when and how the political saga will end. And how will it affect the city’s housing market?

The secondary housing price rally has moderated in recent weeks. The Centa-City Index hit a record high of 189.42 at the end of May, but it eased to 186.26 points recently after falling for two straight weeks. A number of technical gauges like the diffusion index also point to a cooling off in the market.But it’s hard to single out the political conflict as the only reason for the slowdown.

There are a number of other negative issues, including the US-China trade war and the sluggish stock market.Historically, Hong Kong has gone through four major political turmoils since the 1980s.Three of them left the property market largely unscathed. The housing price fell around 5 percent over two years after the Tiananmen crackdown on June 4, 1989.In 2003, massive protests against national security law erupted when the property market was already at the trough of a cycle.

Thus, there was no noticeable dampening effect either.The Umbrella Movement in 2014 did not hurt the housing market at all.In the early 1980s, however, the housing market plunged 30 percent over a two-year period amid the uncertainties concerning the arrangements for Hong Kong's return to China.It remains to be seen whether the extradition bill saga will have a lasting impact on the market.

〈Asian Post June 21, 2019〉Some developers are putting projects on market at up to 20 per cent cheaper than nearby ones as recent city protests and trade war hit sentiment

Some Hong Kong developers, taking advantage of the calm that has returned to the city after recent protests, are offering new projects at discounts to lure buyers who have turned cautious.

Wing Tai Properties said yesterday it would sell flats at its OMA OMA development in Tuen Mun at an average price of HK$12,463 per square foot, some 20 per cent lower than Sun Hung Kai Properties' (SHKP) Mount Regency phase two, which is in the same area.

SHKP, the city's largest developer, is putting 130 units at Mount Regency up for sale tomorrow. Wing Tai is yet to announce a date for its sales launch.

Meanwhile, Wheelock Properties said it would release 101 units at the Grand Montara in Lohas Park tomorrow at an average price of HK$13,999 per square foot. That is 5 per cent lower than prices at its earlier nearby project, the Montara, in April.

The developers are hoping the discounted prices will attract homebuyers who have developed cold feet, staying away from property launches in recent weeks because of massive demonstrations in the city over a controversial extradition bill, and because of the still-unresolved US-China trade war.

〈The Standard, June 21, 2019〉Wheelock & Company yesterday launched Grand Montara in Lohas Park, while Wing Tai Properties (0369) debuted Oma Oma in Tuen Mun, starting at HK$5.75 million and HK$4 million respectively.

The launches came after primary property sales in June dropped to the worst in four months affected by the extradition law, with only 400 transactions, said Centaline residential chief executive of Asia Pacific Louis Chan Wing-kit.

Wheelock Properties chairman Stewart Leung Chi-kin said the climate has stabilized and he is optimistic about sales. Grand Montara is expected to cash in HK$1.17 billion from its first 101 units ranging from HK$12,585 to HK$16,093 per square foot after discounts of up to 22.5 percent.

Leung said Wheelock is interested in the Kai Tak Area 4C Site 1 residential plot valued between HK$12.1 billion to HK$14.3 billion, which closes tender today.

Vanke Property (Hong Kong) won the rights for 9, 9A, 11 and 11A Liberty Avenue Ho Man Tin through compulsory auction at the base price of HK$451 million for the 4,792 sq-ft site.

This is the developer's second purchase since acquiring 13 and 13A Liberty Avenue on April 23 for HK$249.1 million.

Meanwhile, Kerry Properties' (0683) MegaBox in Kowloon Bay saw up to 10 percent growth in revenue with y a 30 percent rise from the food and beverage segment.

〈Business Post, June 11, 2019〉Auctioneer Savills Valuation and Professional Services Limited said today it has successfully sold a property located in Nos. 9, 9A, 11 and 11 A on Liberty Avenue in Kowloon (Kowloon Inland Lot Nos. 1308 and 1309), for HK$451 million to Vanke Property (Hong Kong) Company Limited, via a public auction, by order of Land Tribunal.

The property is situated on the northern side of Liberty Avenue in Ho Man Tin District of Kowloon Peninsula, with a registered site area of 4,792 square feet (or 445.19 square metres). It is an 8-storeyed residential building with two ground floor shops. The building was completed in 1963 and is served by one common lift and two common staircases.

The property falls within an area zoned "Residential (Group A)" under an approved Man Tin Outline zoning plan, which was gazetted on 18 September 2015, with a plot ratio of 9.

"The auctioned property excels in its unique position, offering a rare re-developing opportunity in an urban area with a stronger pent-up purchasing power. The risk of the project is also low," said Charles Chan, Managing Director of Savills Valuation and Professional Services Limited.

〈The Standard June 11, 2019〉A parking space at The Center in Central has sold for HK$6.3 million, becoming the most expensive parking space in the city to date.

The record transaction comes as a survey shows the average Hongkonger can expect to buy their first home at the age of 44, up from last year's expected age of 37.

Real estate search platform Squarefoot of REA Group said Hong Kong residential property prices are among the highest in the world prompting non-owners to look for alternatives such as haunted flats, co-living spaces and residences abroad.

In particular, buyers under 25 are looking for properties in Taiwan to relocate abroad and at vacation homes in Thailand.

The survey also showed that 54 percent of the respondents would consider buying haunted flats at discounts of 37 percent on average, said Nielsen's head of consumer insights Anita Wong.