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Property News Weekly Digest
〈Asian Post, October 26, 2019〉Relaxed mortgage regulations are making the secondary market more attractive

New property projects launched yesterday failed to take off as a relaxation of mortgage restrictions diverted homebuyers to Hong Kong's secondary market.

In a dismal showing, by 6.45pm CK Asset Holdings had sold 65 out of 149 units on offer at its Seaside Sonata development in the protest-hit district of Sham Shui Po. Mainland Chinese developers Longfor Group and KWG Group had sold only eight out of 108 flats at their Upper Riverbank development, while Great Eagle Holdings had sold 13 out of 46.

The secondary market has, on the other hand, witnessed a spike in turnover. For instance, 118 transactions were recorded in Tseung Kwan O, after Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced the relaxation in mortgage lending during her policy address on October 16.

〈Asian Post, October 26, 2019〉PACE OF HOME COMPLETIONS SLOWS City's housing stock on track to hit four-year low as number of finished units slides by almost a third

Hong Kong's property developers completed building homes at a slower pace during the third quarter, exacerbating a housing shortage that has made the city the world's most expensive urban centre to live in.

The number of finished private residential units fell 31.3 per cent from a year ago to 4,400 units in the three months ended September, fewer than the 4,800 units built during the preceding quarter, according to figures from the Transport and Housing Bureau.

That puts the city's 2019 housing stock on track to reach a four-year low of 13,467 units, 34 per cent short of the government's target, according to a projection based on current building pace.

Last year, 21,000 new homes were added to the city's supply, the highest annual rate since 2004. In the first nine months of this year, 10,100 homes were completed.

〈Business Post, October 25, 2019〉Sino Land chairman Robert Ng Chee-siong believes although property buyers are taking a cautious stance on the real estate market due to recent social unrest, a low interest rate environment still supports market sentiment.

The local property developer is offering rental deductions for tenants in its shopping malls who have been affected by the ongoing unrest, said deputy chairman Daryl Ng Win-kong.

Ng said Sino Land's hotel business has been affected by the decrease in inbound tourist arrivals, but visitor arrivals have been rallying recently. He added it is too early to estimate the impact on the hotel business, and the company does not have plans to lay off employees.

Victor Tin Siu-yuen, associate director (sales) of Sino Group, said the developer is preparing to launch several new projects at Kadoorie Hill in Ho Man Tin, Hong Kin Road in Sai Kung, and Wu Kai Sha.

Meanwhile, Longfor (0960) and KWG (1813) will launch 138 units at Upper River Bank in Kai Tak today. Among them, 108 flats range in size from 479 square feet to 760 sq ft and are priced at an average HK$25,472 per sq ft after discounts. The remaining 30 will be sold through tender.

〈China Daily, October 25, 2019〉Increase in demand for older homes after change to mortgage limits spurs local and mainland developers to speed releases of new projects

Hong Kong and mainland property developers will release more than 1,000 units in the coming weeks, hoping to piggyback on strong activity in the city's secondary market.

Sales of older homes jumped more than threefold on the first weekend after Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced a relaxation in mortgage rules on October 16.

According to the changes, homebuyers can access loans equalling 90 per cent on flats worth up to HK$8 million, up from 60 per cent previously, as well as loans equalling 80 per cent on flats worth up to HK$10 million, from 50 per cent before.

The easing in lending applies only to completed flats, but developers are hoping to capitalise on positive sentiment in the market as they seek to shore up sales.

〈The Standard, October 24, 2019〉The protests in Hong Kong continue to weigh on sentiment in the city's property market, which is the world's least affordable real estate sector.

A prime residential site next to Wong Chuk Hang MTR station, which would require an investment of up to HK$11.8 billion, drew a lukewarm response yesterday, in a sign that there was little appetite for expensive deals.

A total of 38 players submitted expressions of interest for the tender for the fourth phase last month, but only six submitted bids yesterday, said MTR Corporation, the government's agent.

These include Sun Hung Kai Properties, CK Asset Holdings, Henderson Land Development, Great Eagle Holdings, Kerry Properties and a consortium formed by Wheelock and Co, Chinachem Group and China Overseas Land & Investment.

"The response was disappointing," said Vincent Cheung, managing director of Vincorn Consulting and Appraisal, who expected at least 10 bidders.

Thomas Lam, executive director at Knight Frank, said: "Developers' bidding interest will be affected by the recent social unrest, the unsettled US-China trade war and the soon-to-be- implemented vacancy tax."