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Property News Weekly Digest
〈Asian Post, July 25, 2020〉Hong Kong remains the preferred market for luxury housing over HK$77.5 million, but investors are delaying big ticket purchases against an uncertain economic backdrop, with the number of deals plummeting by more than 60 per cent in the first half.

The city recorded 60 such residential transactions in the first half, 61.3 per cent lower than the 155 a year earlier, according to Knight Frank. The number of deals, however, was 15.4 per cent more than Los Angeles, which came second.

"Against the backdrop of quantitative easing in different parts of the world, luxury residential assets are [a] good store of value for investors," said Maggie Lee, senior director at Knight Frank Hong Kong.

"Coupled with the scarcity [of] luxury homes in Hong Kong, buyers are still optimistic these assets would bring capital appreciation over a longer-term period."

The outlook for Hong Kong's luxury property sector, however, does not look bright. JLL expects prices to fall by 10 to 15 per cent this year because of decreasing capital flow from the mainland to Hong Kong's real estate market, economic recession and the rising unemployment rate.

〈Asian Post, July 25, 2020〉Goldin Financial Holdings plans to sell its waterfront residential site in Kai Tak to a mystery buyer at a deep discount in exchange for cash and loans - the first major debt restructuring to unfold from the city's property market slump.

The distressed developer agreed to sell the former airport runway site known as Area 4B Site 4 to Sino Shield, a private company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, according to an exchange filing yesterday.

Under the deal, Goldin will receive HK$2.5 billion in cash and up to HK$1.14 billion in loans to help repay debt. The company will also renew an existing HK$2.42 billion credit facility. There is an option for it to buy back the property for HK$853 million within a year.

The developer paid HK$8.91 billion for the site in a government tender in November 2018, at the height of the market boom.

The deal is a lifeline for Goldin after a series of ill-timed debt-funded acquisitions. It will also help the group preserve some of its prime assets after hostile creditors tried to foreclose the company this month to recover loans.

Little is known of the buyer, sparking speculation that "Superman" Li Ka-shing, the city's most famous tycoon, is behind it.

〈 The Standard, July 24, 2020〉Hongkongers are selling their local properties to buy homes in the United Kingdom after Britain widened the door for British National (Overseas) passport holders.

Multiple foreign property agencies said they have definitely received more enquires from Hongkongers, especially BNO holders about buying UK properties, while others are selling local properties to move to the UK.

David Hui, managing director from Centaline Immigration consultants, said the numbers of inquiries received had doubled.

Amous Lee, chief executive officer, and partner of FM Investment Hong Kong, said his company had helped Hongkongers successfully purchase around 185 UK homes since May.

Anvy Cheung, chief executive officer at Sakura Global Property, cited that some clients who decided to move their family to the UK were mostly targeting homes at around 300,000 (HK$2.95 million) outside city centers.

Hui added the minimum investment of UK property is around 200,000 in a second-tier city, such as Birmingham and Manchester City. The most common price range of property bought by Hongkongers was from 500,000 to 800,000. The upper limit of the mortgage loan was 75 percent

〈The Standard, July 23, 2020〉Empire Group and Hong Kong Ferry (0050) released 123 flats in their first price list of Seacoast Royale in Tuen Mun, with the cheapest flat worth just HK$2.91 million.

The average price was HK$13,578 per square foot after discounts, about 21 percent cheaper than the first price list of Regency Bay in the same district, developed by Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016).

The price per square foot ranges from HK$11,961 to HK$15,574 and the 123 flats measure between 207 and 548 sq ft.

All prices of offered units, ranging from studio flats to two-bedroom flats, are lower than HK$6.6 million after discounts.

Thomas Lam Tat-man, general manager of the sales department of Henderson Land (0012), said the project would open its show flats and start receiving subscriptions as soon as this weekend.

The developers may also release the second batch of flats soon, involving 10 percent of the total units and sales will be launched this month or early next month.

The average price per sq ft of Regency Bay is HK$17,992 after discounts, in the first list.

〈Asian News, July 22, 2020〉Hongkongers put a hold on searches in other countries such as Canada, immigration consultants say, though Greece and Cyprus still popular

Britain's offer of a path to citizenship for Hongkongers eligible for British National (Overseas) passports has prompted some residents to put on hold their search for property in other countries, immigration consultants said.

Applications for emigration to Canada and Taiwan, which had recorded the most interest following the introduction of the national security law, were the most affected by Britain's announcement, according to Raymond Chong, managing director at StarPro Immigration Consultancy.

The company had received "several hundred enquiries per month" following the passage of the law by Beijing, but "some had withheld" their applications to other countries once the BN(O) option was announced, Chong said.

"After the BN(O) [policy] was revealed, enquiries for properties outside the UK plummeted by more than half. Enquiries about BN(O) passports and the UK have skyrocketed, rising by four to five times," he said.