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Property News Weekly Digest
〈Asian Post, April 24, 2021〉The first parcel of land in the Kwu Tung area of the northern New Territories has attracted 10 bids from local and mainland-based developers.

The tender for the Kwu Tung North and Fanling North New Development Area has got off to a good start after years of planning, although the bids are likely to be cautious, analysts say.

"Kwu Tung will become the main source of land in the short to medium term," said Alex Leung, senior director at CHFT Advisory and Appraisal. "It is still in the early stages of development, and the land in the area still lacks a benchmark price. I believe the bids will generally be cautious."

The plot could help alleviate the city’s housing shortage.

The Kwu Tung North and Fanling North New Development Area, which covers some612 hectares, can accommodate about 188,100 people and create some 40,100 new jobs, according to the Development Bureau. Its development was among the 10 major infrastructure projects announced during the 2007-08 policy address.

The bidders yesterday included Sun Hung Kai Properties, CK Asset Holdings, Henderson Land Development, Chinachem Group, Great Eagle Holdings, Kowloon Development and Chinese Estates Holdings.

〈China Daily, April 23, 2021〉Hong Kong's cooperation with other cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is "the most pivotal, direct and efficient" way for Hong Kong to attain integrated development in line with the nation's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25).

Guo Wanda, executive vice-president of China Development Institute, made the remarks to China Daily in a recent interview.

"Hindered by its limited space and relatively high costs both in land and housing, industrial development faces many obstacles," Guo said, noting the small supply of industrial land in the city's limited size of 1,100 square kilometers.

As Hong Kong has learned from successful metropolises across the world, "it's of utmost importance to integrate with neighboring cities, and so it is for Hong Kong. Otherwise, the limitations in the city's market and number of talents will stymie its competitiveness," he said.

Guo said he believes that the cities within the Greater Bay Area in the mainland could make up for Hong Kong's limited space. "Spread across 56,000 square kilometers and comprising Hong Kong, Macao and nine cities in Guangdong province, the Greater Bay Area is a huge market in itself, providing Hong Kong with a broader market and stronger momentum for its development," he said. "The integrated development of the Bay Area can not only foster Hong Kong's development, facilitating its role in domestic circulation, but also consolidate the overall development of other cities within the region."

〈Asian Post, April 22, 2021〉Bay area housing deals involving Hongkongers tipped to surge by 25pc this year as banks offer cheaper loans and seamless cross-border payments

Buyers from Hong Kong are expected to recharge demand for homes in the Greater Bay Area as cheaper loans and seamless cross-border remittances add to the appeal of working and living in the region.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Asia), the local unit of China’s biggest lender by assets, said demand from local buyers for mortgage financing of bay area homes surged last quarter as the economies on the mainland and Hong Kong showed signs of recovery following forecasts for annual growth in 2021.

"The number of [mortgage] applications in the first quarter of 2021 reached 40 per cent of the entire year of last year," Flora Leung, head of retail banking and wealth management department, said at a briefing on Tuesday. "A large number of Hong Kong people work and live in cities in the region, which has increased the demand for loans for property purchases in recent years."

The bank saw a tenfold increase in such applications in 2020 over 2019, Leung added. Zhuhai and Zhongshan were the favourite picks of Hongkongers, who accounted for 85 per cent of the applications.

〈The Standard, April 21, 2021〉The number of Hongkongere intending to buy a home in the next 12 months has hit a three-year high, according to a survey by Hong Kong Property Services (Agency).

The survey was conducted in March involving 249 respondents. About 50.6 percent of respondents plan to buy a home in the next 12 months, up by 11.2 percentage points from a quarter before, a three-year high.

About 34.9 percent of respondents want to buy property for replacement, 32.9 percent for getting on the property ladder, and 32.1 percent for investment, according to Hong Kong Property Services (Agency).

But on the somber side, Hong Kong's vacant private residential units could surge to an 18-year high this year assuming 1 percent of the total number of households living in such units leave the city, Patrick Wong, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst, said in a note in early April.

"Potential recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom may boost applications for BNO visas which already reached 27,000 as of mid-March," Wong said. "New private home completions and a possible exodus of Hong Kong citizens driven by the city's political uncertainties could drive a surge in vacancies."

〈The Standard, April 20, 2021〉Large-scale blue-chip housing estates took the lead. Due to the fast-moving market for low-priced housing, purchasing power has shifted to second-tier housing estates.

This has led to a significant increase in transactions for small and medium-priced properties below HK$10 million, with record high prices reached frequently. Most buyers bought the properties for self-use rather than investment.

Sammy Po Siu-ming, chief executive of Midland Realty's residential division, said the secondary property market has been blooming while record high transactions have been recorded frequently.

He also pointed out that the space for bargaining in the market has significantly narrowed, and homeowners have been unwilling to negotiate their asking prices.

Po added that although the unemployment rate in Hong Kong remained high, the middle class was less affected and the property market was expected to continue improving.