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Property News Weekly Digest
〈Asian Post, Feb 27, 2021〉The worst is over for Hong Kong's retail sector, with sales likely to surge by double digits in the second half of the year, according to New World Development, which has a more bullish view of the market than its fellow developers.

The roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines which started yesterday and a HK$5,000 electronic voucher for residents revealed in the budget on Wednesday would help boost local consumption, Adrian Cheng, executive vice-chairman and chief executive of New World, said at a briefing yesterday.

"I believe the worst is behind us. I am very optimistic that Hong Kong's economy will recover gradually as more and more Hong Kong residents are vaccinated," Cheng said.

"The local retail market will continue to improve and overall sales, for the second half, will grow by a double-digit percentage this year."

Compared with the first half of 2020 when the coronavirus outbreak began, New World saw a rebound in the second half, with underlying profit up by 40 per cent, he said.

The firm's property sales in the city surged to HK$26.3 billion as of December 31, from HK$3 billion in the same period last year, defying a surge in the unemployment rate, according to its interim results filed yesterday.

〈Business Post, Feb 26, 2021〉Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) earned 11.93 percent less year-on-year for the second half of 2020, with a net profit of nearly HK$13.58 billion.

It declared an interim dividend of HK1.25 per share, the same as last year.

The developer's operating profit jumped 30.16 percent to HK$21.02 billion year-on-year.

Underlying profit attributable to the company's shareholders rose nearly 30.25 percent to HK$17.48 billion, thanks to most of the financial year's development projects for sale in Hong Kong being completed in the first half of the year, said the company.

Profit generated from property sales reached HK$12.37 billion in the second half of 2020, compared to HK$6.85 billion in the previous year.

However, gross rental income, including contributions from joint ventures and associates, dropped 3 percent year-on-year to HK$12.36 billion, and net rental income decreased 2 percent year-on-year to nearly HK$9.50 million during the six-month period.

The group said that the drop in rental income mainly comes from the decrease in its Hong Kong rental portfolio.

〈The Standard, Feb 25, 2021〉Kai Tak may yield 5,800 flats
Plots earmarked for private housing include three sites government failed to sell to developers as part of its bid to turn former airport into a new business district

Five commercial lots in a key development hub in Hong Kong could be rezoned for private housing to help cope with a shortage of residential land, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said in his budget address.

The plots are located at the former international airport site in Kai Tak, and include three the government failed to sell over the past two years because developers' bids did not meet its undisclosed price. The plots will yield about 5,800 private flats, according to officials' preliminary estimate.

The move follows a decision in 2018 to set aside fewer plots for sale to the private sector in favour of public flats.

While industry figures agree the rezoning could help ease the housing shortage, some warn it could hobble a plan to develop Kai Tak as part of a new office hub for the city.

〈China Daily, Feb 24, 2021〉Price index for lived-in flats rises 0.13 per cent, the first monthly increase since September

Prices of lived-in homes rose last month in Hong Kong, ending three consecutive months of decline, after buyers were ?encouraged by the city's tapering coronavirus numbers to return to the property market, confident that the economy would bounce back from its recession.

The price index for lived-in properties rose by 0.13 per cent to 380 in January, the first monthly increase since September, according to data from the Rating and Valuation Department. The gauge was still down by 4.3 per cent from the record high in May 2019.

"More homeseekers revived their buying interest last month after seeing the number of daily new infections fall to double digits," said Derek Chan, head of research at Ricacorp Properties. "It helps to stabilise home prices."

The pickup in second-hand home prices, although a lagging indicator, points to a more ?positive outlook for the world's most expensive property market, as developers grapple with how and when to offload 31,000 new homes – nearly 80 per cent more than the annual take-up rate in the past five years – in the coming months.

〈Asian Post, Feb 23, 2021〉Wharf seeking tenant for house on Peak likely to rent for HK$1 million a month

Wharf (Holdings) plans to lease out one of its properties on The Peak by tender, which could fetch more than HK$1 million in monthly rent based on indicative market rates.

The 10,804 sq ft house on 11 Plantation Road, one of seven homes sharing the same address, requires potential tenants to lodge a HK$1 million deposit, according to the bidding terms.

The tender was to close at 6pm yesterday.

While the asking price was not disclosed, the property could be rented out at about HK$99 per square foot, based on the asking price for a 4,029 sq ft home on 46 Plantation Road listed on online portal Spacious.

"Many [wealthy] people would like to rent [at The Peak] due to its proximity to Central, but more importantly, places that have an outdoor space and easy access to hiking trails and parks," said Victoria Allan, founder and managing director of Habitat Property.