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Property News Weekly Digest
〈Asian Post, March 27, 2021〉Swire Properties has sold all the flats in a luxury residential project in Singapore for HK$1.7 billion to multiple buyers.

The 20 units in the Eden project, each having a floor area of 3,000 sq ft and four bedrooms, were sold for HK$27,800 per square foot, the Hong Kong-based developer said. The sales would be completed by May 26, subject to the fulfilment of the purchase agreement, it said.

The Eden project is located in Singapore's District 10 Orchard Road neighbourhood. It was built in 2019 and is the first completed global residential development designed by Thomas Heatherwick of Heatherwick Studio.

"We're delighted to sell all 20 flats at Eden, our phenomenal ultra-luxury residences in the heart of Singapore," said Guy Bradley, chief executive of Swire Properties.

"This is a significant transaction as it reflects Eden's distinct design, which has been combined with green living experience."

Singapore's property sector has held up well despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy.

〈China Daily, March 26, 2021〉GUANGZHOU — Fortune 500 consumer goods conglomerate P&G plans to launch an intelligent technology innovation center this year in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, representing its latest investment in the county after setting up a digital innovation center in 2017.

"The digital innovation center was established within just four months in Guangzhou. Since then, the center has invested $100 million in strengthening innovation in big data, artificial intelligence and other areas," said Matthew Price, president of P&G Greater China, in an interview with Xinhua News Agency.

"Our business achievements over the years have fully proved that P&G's choice of long-term investment and development in Guangzhou is a very correct decision," Price said.

P&G is the epitome of global leading global companies ramping up investment in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and beyond in recent years.

As China's 14th Five-Year Plan (202125) kicks off, investors from all over the world reckon that China's strong growth prospects, the promise of further opening-up, and improvement of the business environment are attracting them to increase investment in the world's most populous market.

〈Business Post, March 25, 2021〉Five Guys, the American burger chain, is opening a branch on Russell Street, taking advantage of a near 60 per cent drop in rents following an exodus of luxury brands.

The company is leasing 6,700 sq ft on the first floor of Emperor Watch and Jewellery Centre for HK$670,000 a month, or HK$100 per square foot, 58 per cent lower than the nearly HK$1.6 million paid by cosmetics retailer Sa Sa International Holdings, according to people familiar with the deal.

Emperor International Holdings, owner of Emperor Watch and Jewellery Centre and the largest landlord on Russell Street, said it had no comment, while Five Guys did not reply to inquiries from the Post.

Retail sales fell a record 24.3 per cent year on year in the city last year, as the coronavirus pandemic dampened consumer sentiment. A lack of tourist arrivals, which tumbled 94 per cent to 3.6 million, made matters worse.

Luxury brands like lingerie label La Perla, skincare retailer Kiehl's and watch brands like Rolex and Omega have either closed stores or downsized on Russell Street since September last year. Their move followed Prada, which was the first major global brand on the street to shut its flagship store in 2019.

〈China Daily, March 24, 2021〉Mainlanders pick up slack with several big deals in the high-end housing market amid reduced demand and lower expat compensation packages

Executives of mainland Chinese companies that are either listed or have a presence in Hong Kong are beginning to have a bigger influence on the city's luxury homes rental market.

"Up until a few years ago, we received few enquiries from mainland Chinese clients. Now, out of every 10 enquiries, two to three are from people with roots on the mainland. And they are venturing beyond The Peak area," said Wong Chin-yee, general manager of Hong Kong property investment company Pokfulam Development.

Demand for such homes has declined recently, as companies cut compensation packages for senior expat executives, as well as because of economic dislocation created, first, by Hong Kong's anti-government protests, and then the coronavirus pandemic.

〈The Standard, March 23, 2021〉Prices and deal numbers rebound

As weekend property transactions grow, some landlords are gradually narrowing their room for negotiations and several recent deals have been made at market price.

The primary-market transaction volume rebounded by about 9 percent week on week early this month.

Sammy Po Siu-ming, chief executive of Midland Realty's residential division, pointed out that the secondary market had also improved, with the 10 major housing estates recording more than 20 transactions over the past weekends.

Although most deals were made at market prices, Po noted that some buyers were willing to pay more.

Louis Chan Wing-kit, Asia-Pacific vice-chairman of the residential division at Centaline Property Agency, believed that purchasing power was not only concentrated in the blue-chip housing estates, but also in various small and medium-priced estates.

He estimates that the number of secondary-market transactions will reach more than 5,000 this month.