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Property News Weekly Digest
〈Asian Post, May 29, 2021〉Cash prizes also on offer in scheme to improve sluggish take-up rate and achieve herd immunity

Hong Kong's property tycoons are holding an unprecedented lottery to encourage a hesitant public to get vaccinated against Covid-19, offering a new flat valued at HK$10.8 million as the grand prize.

The Sino Group, Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation and Chinese Estates Holdings announced yesterday they were sponsoring a draw for the one-bedroom flat measuring 449 sq ft at the Grand Central project in Kwun Tong.

All residents aged 18 years and above who hold a Hong Kong permanent identity card and have received both doses of their vaccine will be eligible. Those already vaccinated before the announcement will be included as well. Applications have to be submitted on or before September 1.

The sponsors will also donate 20 prizes with a prepaid or credit card value of HK$100,000 each. That draw will not be restricted to permanent residents, and anyone holding a Hong Kong employment visa, including foreign domestic helpers, will be eligible.

〈Asian Post, May 28, 2021〉Latest rules aim to cool market in city where luxury sector outperforms HK and New York property

Shenzhen authorities enacted a draconian set of price controls to rein in runaway property costs, after home prices grew faster than those in Hong Kong, New York and Paris in the first quarter.

Developers are forbidden to price new homes higher than the prevailing market rate within a year of the latest project in the same neighbourhood, according to a May 20 order by the Shenzhen Housing and Construction Bureau released overnight.

They are also banned from jacking up prices in subsequent launches within 12 months if they sell their property in batches or phases, according to the rules.

"With such a price guidance on new property and lived-in homes, Shenzhen's long-term mechanism for controlling its housing market is approaching maturity," said Li Yujia, senior economist with the Real Estate Assessment and Development Research Centre, a research arm of the Shenzhen government.

〈China Daily, May 27, 2021〉Hong Kong's lived-in home prices were within touching distance of pre-protest days and could set a record over the next two months.

In a reflection of the upwards trajectory in the housing market and the economy, home prices extended a four-month rally in April and were at their highest since July 2019, according to data released by the Rating and Valuation Department yesterday.

They were also within about 1.5 per cent of a historic high recorded in May 2019, before the anti-government protests began.

"If the increase in May amounts to over 1.5 per cent … [the lived-in home price index] will almost break the record," said Derek Chan, head of research at Ricacorp Properties.

He added that June's increase would definitely break the record "if the momentum is sustained and unchanged".

Chan's optimism was built on Hong Kong's ability to control the coronavirus outbreak, the gradual recovery of its economy, the momentum of its gross domestic product growth and the fall in unemployment for two conecutive months. The response to new projects this month has also been satisfactory.

〈The Standard, May 26, 2021〉Homebuying balance shifts

London has seen an influx of home buyers from Hong Kong ever since Britain announced its new British National (Overseas) visa welcoming Hongkongers last summer.

New figures from property agency Benham & Reeves show that transactions by Hong Kong buyers increased 144 percent in London since July.

Estimates are Hong Kong residents have purchased 1,932 homes in London worth 959 million (HK$10.5 billion) since then, comprising 4 percent of the capital city's market activity, up from just 1 percent between July 2019 and April 2020.

Marc von Grundherr, a director at the agency, notes that Britain has always been a popular destination for buyers from Hong Kong. "This has certainly been bolstered by the offer of the BNO visa," he says, "and for the first time in some 30 years, our Hong Kong office saw more interest from those looking to buy."

Grundherr also points out it is not just the affluent investing in property. "Some of this activity is being seen in the very high-end London market, but in fact much of the demand coming from Hong Kong is focused around more average market price thresholds."

〈China Daily, May 25, 2021〉Demand for new homes is rising steadily in top Chinese cities and major city clusters, thanks to the country's rapid urbanization pace, according to the country's recently released seventh national census, experts said.

The census, the largest of its kind across the world, was conducted last year and published on May 11. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the number of people on the Chinese mainland currently stands at 1.41 billion, up 5.38 percent from the previous census conducted in 2010.

In total, about 370 million people are living and working in cities outside of their hometowns, up 69.73 percent from a decade ago.

The growing migrant population has also shed light on the country's future urban living patterns, with a higher proportion of people opting for houses in major cities and their surrounding areas, including city clusters within the Yangtze River Delta region, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, as well as the Chengdu-Chongqing dual city cluster, said Xu Xiaole, chief market analyst with Beike Research Institute.