No. of view: 3708
Property News Weekly Digest
〈Asian Post, February 21, 2020〉Xie Yuqing, an agent at real estate agency Centaline Property in Shenzhen, has spent the longest Lunar New Year holiday this year, although reluctantly, since she joined the industry eight years ago.

“Traditionally, the property market gets back into top gear after the break when people return to work. But this year, it’s a totally different story. Our offices are closed and customers are confined to their homes. I can just do nothing,” she sighed.

The rampaging novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic that has disrupted businesses and kept millions of people at home has brought the country’s property sector, a cornerstone of the national economy, almost to a standstill, with marketing centers and agency offices shut down.

In Shenzhen, the debate is about whether the public health crisis will put a brake on the runaway property market that has turned Shenzhen into one of the most unaffordable cities on the Chinese mainland, with prices of new apartments having hit 54,112 yuan ($7,705) per square meter in January, according to Centaline.

〈EJ Insight, February 19,2020〉Hongkong Land sets Shanghai price record Developer's 31b yuan West Bund deal seen as vote of confidence for city amid health crisis

Hongkong Land Holdings has paid a record price for a piece of mixed-use land in Shanghai, as the developer continues its search for growth on the mainland.

The 50 per cent-owned unit of Jardine Matheson Holdings paid 31 billion yuan (HK$34.34 billion) for the West Bund parcel. It plans to erect office buildings, shopping centres and high-rise flats on the plot, where the gross floor area will top 1.8 million square metres.

The price paid by the owner of the Landmark buildings in Central is a record for commercial real estate in Shanghai, surpassing the 25 billion yuan paid in 2014 by China Minsheng Investment Group in Dongjiadu.

The investment could be a shot in the arm for the Shanghai government, which has won plaudits for its handling of

〈China Daily, February 18, 2020〉Having gone through a year of anguish as the months-long violent protests drove away tourists, hitting spending and threatening the survival of small businesses, there’s still no light at the end of the tunnel for Hong Kong’s once-thriving retail and tourism industries in the Year of the Rat.

A life-and-death struggle is the order of the day for these hard-hit sectors — trying to keep their heads above water as the novel coronavirus creeps into their coffers.

Local retailers, reeling from plummeting foot traffic, staged an unprecedented stoppage in 14 prime shopping centers across Hong Kong on Tuesday, demanding rental cuts. The silent protest at Wharf Real Estate Investment’s Harbour City, New World Development’s K11 Musea in Tsim Sha Tsui, Sun Hung Kai Properties’ New Town Plaza in Sha Tin, and the IFC Mall in Central, run by Sun Hung Kai, Henderson Land Development and Towngas, saw nearly 200 shops operated by 50 brands joining in.

As part of efforts to bring down costs, Hong Kong’s biggest cosmetics retailer Sa Sa International, iconic restaurant chains Tsui Wah Holdings and Tai Hing Group Holdings, and furniture retailer Pricerite Group are among the fi rst to bite the bullet, cutting the salaries of its executive directors. Jewelers Chow Tai Fook, Lukfook, Tse Sui Luen and Chow Sang Sang, along with Sa Sa, led the pack by shutting down their flagship stores in the city and telling employees to take leave or pay cuts, or shortening their working hours.

〈The Standard, February 17, 2020〉Rents drop amid supply boost as many owners opt to lease
Apartment rents in Hong Kong have dropped to their lowest in almost two years as people leave the city and homeowners opt to lease rather than sell.

Data from property agency Spacious showed that advertised residential prices on a per-square-foot basis were at their lowest since March 2018.

Rents have been under pressure since the social unrest started in June, with Covid-19 fears now also hurting demand.

"People with partners or spouses who aren't working, or children who aren't at school, they're relocating now for the time being," said Letizia Garcia Casalino, Colliers International's head of residential services.

In several cases, landlords offered tenants discounts as steep as 12 percent off from current levels, she said.

〈China Daily, February 16, 2020〉Hong Kong’s skyrocketing property market is showing signs of slowing down, with the value of all properties changing hands last month sliding 17 percent on a monthly basis to HK$29 billion ($3.7 billion), while the number of transactions dwindled to 3,776 from 3,908 a month earlier — a 13-month low — according to the Land Registry.

Meanwhile, the number of private residential units completed in 2019 plummeted 35 percent to 13,600 from a year ago — the lowest number since 2015 — data from the Transport and Housing Bureau shows.

According to Bloomberg Intelligence, Sun Hung Kai Properties — the city’s biggest developer — completed 3,264 units in the SAR last year, the most among local builders. It’s followed by Henderson Land Development with 2,803 units and Wheelock and Company with 1,600. CK Asset Holdings only completed the construction of Harbour Glory in North Point with 378 apartments last year, while Sino Land Company and Kerry Properties did not have any residential project completed in 2019.

Developers will put off launching primary new projects in the next two months until the epidemic outbreak retreats. Real estate agents also expect activity in the secondary market to slow as inspections would be reduced as part of efforts to contain the disease.