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Property News Weekly Digest
2020/8/15
〈China Daily, August 15, 2020〉A property at the prestigious Jardine’s Lookout has sold for HK$850 million (US$110 million), 30% lower in price per square foot compared to a nearby property sold last year, as fewer foreign and mainland Chinese billionaires travel to Hong Kong due to COVID-19.

The plot at 20 Perkins Road spans an area of 17,094 square feet, with a two-storey house of a saleable area of 5,353 square feet. Considering the area’s plot ratio of 0.6, its maximum floor area is 10,256 square feet or HK$82,878 (US$10,692) per square foot.

That is 30.7% less per square foot than the property on 16 Perkins Road which sold last year, and 40% less than a 2018 transaction involving 81 Perkins Road.

According to the Land Registry, the property was sold to Rich Infinity Enterprises, a company registered on the British Virgin Islands, by Yue Ho Shau Ching. Yue first put it up for sale eight years ago.

Properties at Jardine’s Lookout are popular among the super-rich, with notable residents including Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau who lives at 12 Perkins Road and holds several other properties in the area.

Vincent Cheung, Managing Director of Vincorn Consulting and Appraisal, said the lower price could reflect the lower number of foreign and mainland billionaires travelling to Hong Kong because of the coronavirus pandemic.

〈Asian Post, August 14, 2020〉Swire Pacific reported a record HK$5.48 billion loss for the six months to June 30, primarily weighed down by an unprecedented slump at its 45 per cent-owned Cathay Pacific Airways. It turned a profit of HK$15.85 billion a year earlier. The group had never had an underlying loss since its listing in 1974, a company official said.

The mainland economy grew 3.2 per cent in the second quarter, following a historic slump in the first three months, as measures to ease lockdowns helped revive consumption. The mainland's recovery makes it fertile ground for Hong Kong developers seeking relief from the city's worst recession on record.

"Our businesses here are heavily exposed to mainland China, particularly in property and beverage business," Swire said in a post-results briefing.

"We have been encouraged by what we have seen in the last two to three months."

Cathay Pacific reported a record HK$9.9 billion interim loss, and has sought a HK$27 billion bailout from the government to ride out the pandemic crisis.

The group's 82 per cent-owned Swire Properties, the unit that manages Pacific Place in Admiralty and five commercial projects on the mainland, reported an 80 per cent drop in core profit to HK$3.75 billion in the first half from a year earlier.

〈ANI, August 13, 2020〉Hong Kong, August 13 (ANI): The three top leaders of Chinese Communist Party including President Xi Jinping, have relatives who own assets in Hong Kong, an investigation by the New York Times revealed.Hong Kong, August 13 (ANI): The three top leaders of Chinese Communist Party including President Xi Jinping, have relatives who own assets in Hong Kong, an investigation by the New York Times revealed.

Li Qianxin, the elder daughter of the Chinese Communist Party's No. 3 leader Li Zhanshu, is among them. She had quietly crafted a life in Hong Kong that traverses the city's financial elite and the secretive world of Chinese politics, The New York Times reported.

China's top leaders have inextricably linked themselves to the fate of Hong Kong, a report published in the New York Times said.

'Li (Qianxin) and other members of the Communist nobility are embedded in the fabric of Hong Kong's society and financial system, binding the former British colony closer to the mainland. By building alliances and putting their money into Hong Kong's real estate, China's top leaders have inextricably linked themselves to the fate of the city,' it reported.

Qianxin has represented Hong Kong in Chinese provincial political advisory groups. She is the chairwoman of a state-owned investment bank based in Hong Kong that has long done business with the relatives of top Chinese officials.

Qianxin has bought a USD 15 million, four-story townhouse perched high above a beach in Hong Kong. Her partner owns a now-retired racehorse and spent hundreds of millions on a stake in the storied Peninsula Hotel that he later sold.

'Members of the Red aristocracy in China, including the princelings, have made huge investments in Hong Kong,' said Willy Lam, an adjunct professor of China studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. 'If Hong Kong suddenly loses its financial status, they cannot park their money here.'

The newly passed National Security Law could protect the families of the party's leaders by stopping the protests that wreaked havoc on the economy.

'One of the leadership's biggest exposures to Hong Kong is in real estate. Including Qianxin, relatives of three of the top four members of China's Communist Party have in recent years bought luxury homes in Hong Kong worth more than USD 51 million combined,' the report read.

Qi Qiaoqiao, the older sister of Xi Jinping, China's president, started buying properties in Hong Kong as early as 1991, Hong Kong property records show. Qiaoqiao's daughter, Zhang Yannan, owns a villa in Repulse Bay, which she bought in 2009 for USD 19.3 million, and at least five other apartments, the city's property and company records indicate.

〈China Daily, August 12, 2020〉A large number of new Hong Kong buyers have taken an interest in northern England properties - Manchester in particular - causing a surge in demand for properties in these areas, British media reported.

While London used to be the focal point of interest for Hong Kong investors, the relaxation of restrictions for Hong Kong residents holding BNO passports in the United Kingdom has resulted in an increased interest in British properties.

The Daily Telegraph reported that one Manchester real-estate agent, Oliver James, said there were seven transactions involving Hong Kong buyers in the second half of July. Three houses were purchased by Hong Kong residents last Wednesday, compared to only one deal from Hong Kong every six months previously.

James noted that these Hong Kong buyers were different from the investors buying new luxury houses in London, as they are all 30 to 40 years old and mostly bought ordinary houses, such as three-bedroom semi-detached houses.

Some London real-estate agents pointed out that Hongkongers' demand for luxury properties has risen sharply since the British government relaxed BNO residence and requirements for Hong Kong residents.

〈The Standard, August 11, 2020〉The commercial property market saw transactions involving street-level shop premises in residential areas rise recently, especially those rented by essential goods suppliers, as demand for such essentials remains strong despite the double whammy of the Covid-19 outbreak and escalating Sino-US tensions.

A 500-square-foot street shop at Tai Tong Road in Yuen Long changed hands for HK$30 million, or HK$60,000 per sq ft, after HK$8 million was cut from the original asking price.

The vendor bought the shop in 2007 for HK$10.98 million, making a paper gain of HK$19.02 million. The buyer will earn a rental yield of 2.8 percent, as the current tenant, DCH Foods Deluxe, is leasing the shop for HK$70,000 per month.

In Shau Kei Wan, Hoixe Cake Shop is set to earn a return of HK$23.4 million on paper after selling a street shop measuring 800 sq ft in gross floor area on Shau Kei Wan Road for HK$30.5 million, or HK$38,125 per sq ft, after HK$2.5 million was cut from the initial asking price. Hoixe Cake Shop purchased the shop in 1996 for HK$7.1 million.

The buyer will earn a rental yield of about 3.3 percent as the convenience store chain Circle K is renting the shop for HK$85,000 per month.