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Property News Weekly Digest
〈Asian Post, November 9, 2019〉Four bids made for the plot on former runway amid months of social unrest and the US-China trade war, while market valuation is cut by 15pc

The tender for a sea-facing plot of land on the runway of Hong Kong's former airport received only four bids, a reflection of the worsening state of the city's economy following five months of social unrest, the US-China trade war and a looming vacancy tax.

One property expert lowered his market valuation on the site by 15 per cent.

The four bids for Area 4A Site 2 at Kai Tak equal the record for the lowest number of bids, which was set by Area 4A Site 1 in July.

Sun Hung Kai Properties, CK Asset Holdings, a consortium of Sino Land, Great Eagle Holdings and Chinese Estates Holdings as well as a group comprising China Overseas Land & Investment, Henderson Land Development, Wharf (Holdings) and K Wah International bid for the parcel.

The residential plot can yield a gross floor area of 1.2 million sq ft.

〈China Daily, November 9, 2019〉Experts have called for down-to-earth steps to tackle Hong Kong’s deep-rooted social woes, notably soaring home prices and a yawning wealth gap. He Shusi and Luis Liu report.

Everyone has a dream. But Fury Chan, 30, is beginning to accept that, his dream, even though simple and basic, may be a castle in the air. He wants to own a home.

For many people of his age in Hong Kong — the most expensive place to buy a home in the world — homeownership presents an almost insurmountable obstacle and remains a golden dream, generation after generation.

Chan tries to visualize his dream from inside his 8-square-meter, subdivided flat in To Kwa Wan in central Kowloon.

Chan describes himself as an average young person. As a senior mechanic working on Rolls-Royce airplane engines, Chan gets up around 6 am, and rides a company coach to Tseung Kwan O every day. He sometimes works overtime with overtime pay. It pushes his monthly salary over HK$20,000 ($2,552).

The subdivided flat where he lives costs him HK$3,800 per month, with a tiny kitchen and bathroom.

Over 200,000 people in Hong Kong live in subdivided flats. In 2016, the city’s median per capita living space averaged 15 sq m, according to the Census and Statistics Department. The average property price is HK$170,596 per sq m, according to Squarefoot, a multinational real estate information provider.

〈China Daily, November 8, 2019〉Over the past 10 months, Bei Qin, a realtor in Silicon Valley, California, has not had any clients from China, a market that used to be her major source of business.

“We had the best business in 2016 and 2017. Every day, we had inquiries from Chinese buyers and every week our WeChat account had more than 10 new subscribers,” said Qin, president of ACEQ Investment Group in Cupertino. “Now, those days are gone.”

After a decade of increasing investment by wealthy Chinese in residential property purchases in the United States the biggest proportion of international buyers for seven consecutive years purchases plunged by 56 percent in the 12 months to March, according to a report by the National Association of Realtors, or NAR.

During that period, Chinese buyers acquired real estate in the US worth $13.4 billion, compared with $30.4 billion a year earlier. They were followed by Canadians, who bought homes costing a total of $8 billion, according to the report.

〈The Standard, November 7, 2019〉A series of new policies will make it more convenient for Hong Kong people to live in the Guangdong- Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, including equal rights to buy property in the nine Guangdong cities in the region, Hong Kong’s top leader said Wednesday.After the third plenary meeting of the leading group for the development of the Bay Area held in Beijing, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced 16 policies that will make it easier for Hong Kong and Macao people to live, work, study and start businesses across the 11-city cluster.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government welcomed the series of policy measures, which can benefit people from different sectors of Hong Kong society, Lam said.

One of the most noticeable policies is that Hong Kong and Macao residents will be treated as local residents when they buy properties in the nine Guangdong cities. Currently, they have to provide proof of their duration of residence, study or employment, or pay a certain amount of individual income tax and social insurance.

Meanwhile, the children of Hong Kong and Macao residents will share the same pre-primary education services, and participate in the same entrance examination for senior high school admittance as their mainland peers.

In addition, it will be easier for Hong Kong residents to use the mobile electronic payment services on the mainland, as well as cross-boundary wealth management and open mainland bank accounts. These measures could also further promote financial cooperation between the two places, Lam said.

〈Global Times , November 6, 2019〉Hong Kong housing prices, sales up in Oct for first time since June Transactions and prices of residential properties in Hong Kong rose in October, ending the continuous decline since June, data from the Hong Kong Land Registry showed on Tuesday.

The number of transactions for residential building units increased 16 percent month-on- month to 4,001 in October.

The reading for all building units reached 5,075 in October, up 24 percent on a monthly basis, and the total value rose to HK$65.593 billion ($8.37 billion), 80 percent higher than in the prior month.

Primary residential sales stopped falling as developers took a positive view of news from the first-phase trade talks between China and the US, and the somewhat smaller scale of protests, according to a report by Hong Kong real estate agent Ricacorp Properties published on Tuesday.

In terms of secondhand housing, many owners made relatively large price cuts as a response to reality and successfully attracted buyers with inelastic demand, the report said.