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Property News Weekly Digest
〈Asian Post, May 15, 2021〉Hong Kong and foreign investors are looking to offload luxury hotels in Shanghai but have received a lukewarm response despite being priced at a loss, mainland media says, indicating the sluggish economy and slow tourism recovery in China.

Buyers were not forthcoming although the asking prices of the five-star hotels were as low as 8,000 yuan to 9,000 yuan (US$1,240 to US$1,390) per square meter, Securities Times reported.

It was understood that renovations for each hotel room cost at least 10,000 yuan per square meter, which meant the owners were prepared to suffer a loss.

On the selling list were hotel clusters owned by Greenland Holdings in Hongqiao, Sofitel Shanghai Hongqiao Hotel, Renaissance Shanghai Yu Garden Hotel and Hotel Nikko Shanghai, the report said.

In Wuxi, a city near Shanghai, Hong Kong property developer Wharf Holdings in 2017 put on the market a high-rise building that featured grade A offices and a five-star hotel, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter. More than four years later, no deal has been closed.

〈Asian Post, May 15, 2021〉Former chief executive Leung Chun-ying has revived a controversial housing idea that was shot down by the current government and is pushing again for public flats to be built on the fringes of a protected country park, this time also suggesting they should be sold more cheaply than under the existing policy.

His tone and detailed policy-like approach sparked speculation again of a possible leadership comeback bid ahead of the chief executive election in March, while some cautioned his fast-tracked housing proposal should not go against established procedures.

Leung shared his idea in a Facebook video yesterday, after noting earlier that the current waiting time in the public housing queue had increased to 5.8 years, a 22-year high.

Now an elder statesman as a vice-chairman of China's top political advisory body, Leung recalled that in his last policy speech as chief executive in 2017, he had proposed to allocate a small proportion of land on the periphery of country parks for public housing and non-profit-making homes for the elderly.

〈China Daily, May 13, 2021〉Joint bid by Hysan and Chinachem beats estimates to claim first site in area offered by government for 24 years, in sign of confidence in city prospects

A joint bid by Hysan Development and Chinachem Group has won the first commercial site to be offered by the government in Causeway Bay for 24 years, for HK$19.778 billion.

The price was much higher than expected, analysts said, showing developers' confidence in the outlook for the office market as the city tried to get back on track from a deep recession.

Patchway Holdings (HK), a joint venture between Chinachem's Chime Corporation and Hysan, won the plot on Caroline Hill Road for about HK$18,400 per square foot, the Lands Department said yesterday.

Hysan already owns the Lee Gardens shopping centre in Causeway Bay.

The price tag for the new plot was well above market estimates that had ranged from HK$11 billion to HK$17.2 billion.

〈The Standard, May 12, 2021〉An easier time with the pandemic and the bullishness of the market have spurred an upturn in secondary-market deals, driving banks to increase valuations in this segment.

Eighteen of the 20 index housing estates have seen valuations increase between 0.6 and 3.5 percent month on month in the latest appraisals.

Of these, small and medium-sized housing estates such as Metro Harbour View in Mong Kok and Kornhill in Quarry Bay performed strongly.

The one estate that had a flat performance was City Garden in North Point, while only Nan Fung Plaza in Tseung Kwan O saw a decline in valuations.

This reflects that banks have become more aggressive with their valuations amid the boom in the secondary market.

Alex Leung Pui-wang, a senior director of CHFT Advisory and Appraisal, pointed out that data from the Rating and Valuation Department showed that the SAR's housing supply for this and next year will be lower than the past year.

〈The Standard, May 11, 2021〉Property owners in Kwu Tung have increased their asking price by 5 per cent, after a unit of the city's largest home builder paid a huge amount for a large residential site in the area neighbouring Shenzhen.

Asset Capital Limited, a subsidiary of Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP), last month spent more than HK$8.61 billion, some 40 per cent higher than market expectation, to outbid nine rivals to win a 1.19 million sq ft site in the northern New Territories.

An industry observer estimated the homes to be built on the site could fetch as much as HK$18,500 per square foot in three years' time.

"Some owners have already increased their asking price, while some have decided to take their property off the market to reconsider their pricing," said Yen Wong, senior associate director at Ricacorp Properties' Sheung Shui branch.

Currently, Kwu Tung mainly comprises low density luxury houses, with around a hundred units available for sale across eight estates, according to Angus Hui, director at Centaline Property Agency's Kwu Tung, Fanling and Sheung Shui Luxury division.