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Property News Weekly Digest
〈Asian Post, December 28, 2019〉Owners at Kingswood Villas begin reducing asking prices in response to SHKP development, in what analysts see as a test of market sentiment

Owners of flats at Kingswood Villas, one of Hong Kong's largest housing communities, have begun cutting asking prices before the launch early next year of the first major property project to come to market in the same area in the past decade.

Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP) announced the pricing on Thursday for its Wetland Seasons Park project, which will add 710 flats to the housing supply in Tin Shui Wai and is only a few minutes walk from Kingswood Villas.

It set the price at an average of 9 per cent above the median transaction price of the 27-year-old Kingswood Villas, prompting owners at the latter development to cut their prices by between 1 per cent and 3 per cent, according to Victor Ng, Centaline Property Agencies' sales manager for the Tin Shui Wai district.

"Ninety per cent of our clients have shifted their interest to the soon-to-be launched new project, instead of looking for used flats in the area," he said.

〈The Standard, December 27, 2019〉After years of inertia, plans are slowly taking shape to turn Macau into a financial and cultural centre to ease its long reliance on gambling

Tim Zhang, a 24-year-old Macau native, quit his job at the Chungwa (Macau) Financial Asset Exchange in July to study for a master's degree in finance at a university in Sydney.

Disillusioned with a lack of exciting opportunities at home, his plan was to improve his CV in preparation for finding himself a good finance job overseas.

But his plans have changed.

"Now I will probably go back to work for my former employer," Zhang said.

He feels a fresh sense of excitement about the city's prospects after Beijing recently announced a raft of policies aimed at developing Macau's financial industry.

"Over the years, Macau has just focused on gambling, tourism and resort development. The economic base is too narrow. For young people like me, who focus on finance, we did not see any prospects other than joining traditional banks," Zhang said.

"The fresh policies create new hopes and opportunities for the new generation and for the city

〈Asian Post , December 27, 2019〉SHKP bets on return of confidence with latest pricing
Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP), Hong Kong's largest developer, has priced its Wetland Seasons Park project in Tin Shui Wai at around 9 per cent higher than used homes in nearby Kingswood Villas, betting on a return of confidence in the market.

The project will be the first to go on sale in 2020 and the first new development in Tin Shui Wai in 10 years.

"There has been progress in the US-China trade talks, and the stock market has also gone up. Although the social unrest in Hong Kong has made buyers take a wait-and-see approach in the second half of the year, market sentiment has improved and I believe consumer confidence will return," said Victor Lui Ting, deputy managing director at SHKP.

"I believe the housing market won't fluctuate as much in 2020 and will stay steady and healthy."

He predicted housing prices in the city would see a mild increase in the coming year.

The new batch of 142 flats at Wetland Seasons Park, which could be put on sale as early as next week, will be sold at an average of HK$11,388 per square foot. That is about 9 per cent higher than used homes sold in the nearby Kingswood Villas.

〈The Standard, December 26, 2019〉Cushman & Wakefield said companies have increasingly turned to using co-working spaces amid economic uncertainty, although the industry has been shrinking of late.

Co-working space operators have slowed their expansion since the third quarter due to the worsening local economy and the too-rapid expansion last year, said John Siu Leung-fai, managing director of Cushman & Wakefield Hong Kong.

"Since the third quarter, many companies have slowed or canceled their expansion plans, so the demand for co-working space has reduced," Siu said.

The total floor area rented by shared office space operators in Grade A office buildings shrank 24 percent year-on-year this year to 277,000 square feet. All of it was all leased to foreign operators - in contrast to last year, when mainland operators occupied more than 50 percent, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

The fourth quarter saw no new lease contracts of co-working spaces, they added.

〈China Daily, December 23, 2019〉Tourists visit the Ruins of St. Paul's in South China's Macao Special Administrative Region, on Oct 8, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua] While experiencing tremendous growth since its return to China, Macao's reliance on gaming puts it in a vulnerable position. Accordingly, the central government has actively promoted the diversification of Macao's economy as a priority goal. Macao has always been susceptible to short-term shocks, suffering declining growth during the outbreak of the H1N1 virus and the 2008 financial crisis.

When China launched its anti-corruption campaign, gaming revenue in Macao fell to a five-year low, indicating part of Macao's revenues came at the expense of the rest of mainland. More recently, relaxation of gambling regulations in Japan, Singapore and the Philippines suggests the end of Macao's monopoly position as a gaming hub. These facts make diversification an urgent task.

With only 30 square kilometers and 650,000 people, the task of diversification is a difficult one. To accomplish this, Macao must utilize its geographical and historical advantages. Macao has natural synergies with the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (Greater Bay Area), and its efforts at diversification can be best realized by integrating within mainland's national development plan.