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Property News Weekly Digest
2019/11/30
〈Asian Post, November 30, 2019〉Like many co-working firms, its operations have faced obstacles gaining a foothold in the city

Kr Space is shutting down its last co-working facility in Hong Kong, ending its ill-fated expansion in the city.

The Chinese company, a spin-off of technology platform 36kr.com, confirmed that it had decided to close its 34,000 sq ft of flexible office space spread over two floors in Times Square, in the protest-hit district of Causeway Bay, just over a half a year after opening in April.

"Causeway Bay centre's business did not meet our targets of freeing up cash flow and making a profit by the end of this year, so we decided to close it," said a Kr Space spokeswoman. "We are in talks with the landlord about the exact date to terminate the lease and the compensation due to the early surrender," she said.

Wharf Real Estate Investment, which owns Time Square, did not comment on the company's decision to terminate the lease. The two firms also declined to provide details about the terms of the lease.

〈EJ Insight, November 29, 2019〉US$5 billion land sale sets new record for Hong Kong

The Hong Kong government fetched a record HK$42 billion (US$5.37 billion) for a plot of land, a sale coming in at the lower end of estimates after the financial hub has been rocked by six months of pro-democracy protests.

A tender for the site, which sits atop the high-speed railway station in Kowloon that connects to China’s urban hubs, was won by Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd (新鴻基地產), the territory said late on Wednesday.

The plot is expected to yield 294,000m2 of floor area with offices, a luxury hotel as well as retail space. It is adjacent to Hong Kong’s tallest building, the International Commerce Centre, also owned by Sun Hung Kai, a firm controlled by the billionaire Kwok (郭) family.

The price far surpasses the previous land record of US$3.2 billion paid for a residential site in Kai Tak last year.

Analysts had valued the Kowloon plot in a range of US$4 billion to US$12 billion ahead of the auction.

"The site will house offices, a hotel and a mall, which will be highly exposed to social movements and the city’s economy in the future," said Thomas Lam (林浩文), executive director of valuation and consultancy at Knight Frank LLP in Hong Kong. "Developers had to consider this when making their offers."

〈The Standard, November 28, 2019〉With social unrest showing signs of getting worse over the past few weeks, buyers had been reluctant to go out of their neighborhoods and districts to view homes given the ensuing traffic gridlock or uncertainty.

In the secondary market, transaction numbers and inquiries have plummeted, with some investors opting to leave the market over concerns about the current outlook.

Overall transactions are dominated by low market prices, seeing price cuts ranging from about 5 percent to 7 percent, due to the recent market sentiment.

Some owners are waiting for signs of improvements in the situation before selling their flats.

Midland chief executive Sammy Po Siu-Ming said that as the social unrest has become worse, many prospective buyers have adopted a wait-and-see attitude, not daring to enter the market.

Recently, the residential property market has remained quiet, resulting in homeowners gradually cutting flat prices and providing discounts to buyers.

〈Macau Post Daily, November 27, 2019〉The government launched a new round of applications yesterday for 3,011 subsidised home-ownership scheme (HOS) flats on the land reclamation area officially known as Zone A.

The application period will end on March 26 next year.

A press conference about the new round of applications for the 3,011 units was held yesterday at the Housing Bureau (IH) in Ilha Verde.

The 3,011 HOS flats, which will be built on three plots on Zone A, comprise 760 one-bedroom units, 998 two-bedroom units, and 1,253 three-bedroom units.

According to the press conference, which was hosted by IH Director Arnaldo Ernesto dos Santos and two other IH senior officials, 1,575 of the 3,011 flats will be built on plot “B4”, while 636 and 800 will be built on plots “B9” and “B10” respectively.

For this round of applications, the household monthly minimum income, to be eligible to apply for an HOS flat, amounts to 11,640 patacas for a one-person household and 17,680 patacas for a two-person household, while for a household with seven members or more, the monthly income must be at least 34,390 patacas.

〈Macau Post Daily, November 26, 2019〉China says trade envoys agree on phone to continue talks
Top Chinese and U.S. trade negotiators have agreed to talks on a preliminary deal for resolving the tariff war between the world’s two largest economies, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said yesterday.

In a brief notice, the ministry said that Vice Premier Liu He and other senior officials spoke by phone with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The official Xinhua News Agency said the two sides discussed “solving issues regarding each other’s core concerns, reached consensus on properly resolving related issues and agreed to maintain communication on remaining issues in consultations on the Phase 1 deal.”The announcement was not immediately confirmed by the U.S. side. It came after shares struck new record highs Monday on Wall Street following Beijing’s announcement of new guidelines for the protection of patents and copyrights.

Theft of such intellectual property has been a sore point in the trade war between the world’s largest economies, and investors saw China’s move as an encouraging sign.