No. of view: 3165
Property News Weekly Digest
〈The Standard, Sept 5, 2020〉Guangzhou eases homes purchases

In a move designed to make it easier for SAR citizens to purchase homes in the Greater Bay Area, Guangzhou will allow Hong Kong and Macau residents to use their properties in the city to back mortgage loans from SAR banks.

This follows Guangdong allowing Hong Kong and Macau banks to register mortgages in the nine mainland cities without having to establish branches there. The nine cities are Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Huizhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing.

Louis Chan Wing-kit, chief executive of Centaline Asia-Pacific residential operations, expects the number of Greater Bay Area property buyers from Hong Kong to increase by about 20 percent with the new arrangement.

Greater Bay Area homes were selling briskly to Hongkongers towards the end of last year, Chan said, but the pandemic had stopped them going to the mainland to buy property.

He added that home prices in Foshan and Zhuhai are about a third cheaper than in Hong Kong, but the difference in home prices between the cities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou and Hong Kong is narrowing. He reminded home buyers that banks usually only offer mortgages of up to 50-60 percent of value if they want to buy Greater Bay Area property.

〈China Daily, Sept 4, 2020〉Hong Kong's property market took a hit from the third wave of the coronavirus outbreak, with transactions falling to a four-month low in August.

It was a particularly disastrous month for sellers, with one individual incurring a loss of HK$38 million on the sale of a house in Wong Chuk Hang.

Overall transaction volume, including homes, commercial and industrial properties and car parking spaces, sank 34.2 per cent month on month in August to HK$45.59 billion, according to Land Registry data released on Wednesday. It was the lowest since the HK$38.35 billion worth of deals in April.

"The rebound in local coronavirus infections in early July, when the government tightened social-distancing measures, dragged down sentiment in the housing market further," said Wong Leung-sing, senior associate director of research at Centaline Property Agency.

The economy has taken a beating from the pandemic and remains mired in a recession. Last month, retail sales fell 23.1 per cent year on year for the 18th consecutive month.

On Wednesday, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority asked banks to extend their loan repayment holidays for small businesses for six more months until April 2021 to help the struggling retail, property and service industries amid the lockdowns and consumption slumps caused by the pandemic.

〈The Standard, Sept 3, 2020〉Room to spare in shopping areas

Hong Kong's top shopping districts are on the verge of a vacancy crisis amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with the percentage of shops sitting empty in five core areas remaining in the double digits, according to data from Centaline Commercial for July.

Of the five districts - Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui, Central, Wan Chai and Mong Kok - Central saw the highest vacancy rate at 20.39 percent, more than double the 8.05 percent rate reported in January.

In Causeway Bay, the vacancy rate more than tripled to 11.53 percent from 3.5 percent.

Elsewhere, 16.47 percent of shops in Tsim Sha Tsui, 14.64 percent of shops in Wan Chai and 12.24 percent of shops in Mong Kok were empty.

There are about 160 vacant shops on the main streets in Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui, Central, and Mong Kok as of mid-August, according to Sing Tao Daily, The Standard's sister newspaper.

In Tsim Sha Tsui East, 42 out of 159 shops at nine major Grade A office buildings were vacant.

〈China Daily, August 31, 2020〉Foreign buyers stand firm on HK property

Almost eight in 10 overseas investors say they are looking to keep their property investment size in Hong Kong, despite uncertainties, show a survey by Jones Lang LaSalle.

Only 18 percent of correspondents plan to cut related investments, JLL said.

In the primary market, Wing Tai Properties (0369) sold a 1,428-sq-ft special unit at Oma by the Sea in Tuen Mun for HK$31.8 million, or HK$22,269 per sq ft, by tender.

In the secondary market, a 684-sq-ft flat at Taikoo Shing in Quarry Bay changed hands for HK$11.9 million, or HK$17,398 per sq ft, after HK$900,000 was slashed from the original asking price.

In Tsing Yi, a 675-sq-ft flat at Tierra Verde sold for HK$10.3 million, or HK$15,259 per sq ft, hitting a new low at the estate this year, according to Midland Realty.

〈Asian Post, August 30, 2020〉Billionaire Tang Shing-bor, Hong Kong's "shop king", has swiftly settled a court case brought against him over nearly HK$12 million in unpaid rent for a hotel property in Tsim Sha Tsui.

The settlement comes amid market speculation that the tycoon is under financial stress after the Tang family has divested more than HK$1 billion worth of property assets so far this year.

In its first public response to the legal action, the spokesman of Stan Group, the family office representing Tang's assets, said in a written reply to the Post that "the court case about the property at 182 Nathan Road has been withdrawn by the owner".

To quash market rumours about its financial health, Stan Group said "operating income of our businesses, including hotel management, only accounts for a small proportion of the group's revenue, so the Covid-19 has not imposed a significant impact".

The company said that, as part of its strategy, it constantly reviewed its HK$80 billion asset portfolio and sold non-core assets at favourable prices.

"We have been approached by several investors with an interest to acquire our properties, which is a vote of confidence in the value of our assets. In the past, the group has recorded considerable returns on each sale," it said.