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Property News Weekly Digest
〈Asian Post, November 16, 2019〉Tiny 60 sq ft standing-room-only cubicle in western Beijing fetches record price as buyers compete for coveted household registration document

A subdivided home in a run-down alley in Beijing recently sold for a record price at auction, as buyers competed for an address that comes with a hukou, the household registration that is a prerequisite for access to schools, homes, civil service jobs and public health care in mainland cities.

The 60 sq ft unit at No 121 Lanman Hutong in the western Xicheng district, about 10 minutes' drive from Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, changed hands on November 11 for 1.28 million yuan (HK$1.43 million) after 136 rounds of bidding at an auction in the capital.

The buyer would not be getting much of a home, however, for their outlay of 230,000 yuan per square metre, or HK$23,850 per square foot.

The unit is a cubicle covered in bathroom tiles large enough to fit a bunk bed, but with standing room only. It is smaller than even Hong Kong's infamous microflats, which average about 200 sq ft. A standard car parking space measures 126 sq ft.

〈Asian Post, November 13, 2019〉Bloomberg reported this week that the SAR has slipped to the bottom of a list of 22 economic centers in relation to real estate investment prospects in respect of potential price increases in 2020.

Not surprisingly, Singapore has climbed to the No 1 position.

A major reason given for Singapore's rise points to increased demand in the office sector - meaning more companies are setting up offices in the city-state, which increases demand for residential properties as recruited talent moves in.

The emerging trend in Singapore - and other Asian nations like Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand - has everything to do with the uncertainty stemming from the Sino-US trade war and over the future of the United States' Hong Kong Policy Act if the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act becomes law

〈The Standard, November 11, 2019〉Three homeowners sold their houses in Kwai Fong at lower prices over the past two weeks as they plan to emigrate from Hong Kong amid political chaos, according to Centaline Property Agency.

Among them, a 473-square-foot flat at Kwai Fong Terrace changed hands for HK$6.2 million, or HK$13,025 per sq ft, after HK$1 million was cut from the original asking price.

One home buyer forfeited deposits of about HK$1.2 million after pulling out of a deal for an 832-sq-ft flat at The HarbourSide atop Kowloon Station. The purchaser had agreed to buy the unit for HK$25 million, or HK$30,048 per sq ft, in October.

At least four property agent shops owned by Centaline Property Agency were vandalized by protesters.

〈Taipei Times, November 12, 2019〉Taipei ranked third globally in terms of price growth, followed by Manila in fourth and Guangzhou in sixth on Knight Frank’s Prime Global Cities Index

Luxury home prices in Taipei last quarter increased 8.9 percent year-on-year, outperforming other property markets in Asia and ranking third globally, as capital repatriation and firms returning from abroad boosted real-estate and investment demand, a survey released yesterday by international property consultancy Knight Frank LLP showed.

"A mixture of economic growth, infrastructure improvements and redirected capital due to global trade tensions have propelled secondary Asian cities into the top ranking," Knight Frank international residential research head Kate Everett-Allen said.

Taipei placed third for price growth, followed by Manila in fourth and Guangzhou in sixth on the agency’s Prime Global Cities Index, which tracks the performance of luxury residential prices in key cities worldwide on a quarterly basis.

Prime home prices last quarter increased by an average of 1.1 percent in all indexed cities, falling from 3.4 percent in the same period last year and 4.2 percent in 2017, consistent with a predicted slowdown in prime residential markets, Everett-Allen said.

〈The Standard, November 9, 2019〉Causeway Bay remains the world's most expensive shopping destination, with rents running at US$2,745 (HK$21,411) per square foot a year, according to real estate service firm company Cushman & Wakefield, but that could change with the social unrest.

Russell Street in Causeway Bay "remains the world's most expensive retail street this year based on data from June when our global survey was completed," said Cushman & Wakefield executive director Kevin Lam.

"Since then, however, the Hong Kong retail market has come under growing pressure from local social unrest that has led to a sharp drop in tourist arrivals and retail sales as well as interruptions to retailer operations. As a result, retail rents have fallen across all submarkets in recent months, and the outlook for the remainder of the year is muted.

"However, some retailers see the current market correction as a rare opportunity to return to the high street," he added.

In particular, trades that focus on mass-market demand and local consumption, such as the education, lifestyle and sports/athleisure sectors, will fare better in the current environment. We are seeing a number of such retailers cautiously look for opportunities to expand or to seek a better rental package."