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Property News Weekly Digest
〈Asian Post, July 10, 2021〉An unprecedented blunder at housing development The Pavilia Farm, which will be partially demolished, has set alarm bells ringing across the construction sector over inadequacies in site supervision and project management, according to industry observers.

An insider said the MTR Corporation, the Tai Wai project's joint developer, feared the debacle would affect the property prices of the remaining flats. Prices of phase III currently start at HK$6.76 million, rising to as much as HK$24 million. "Senior management has expressed concerns over sale prices," the insider said, pointing to an ongoing investigation into the use of concrete and site supervision.

Shock waves rumbled through the world's most expensive real estate market yesterday after it was revealed the developer of The Pavilia Farm, the city's bestselling new residential property last year, would tear down and rebuild two out of seven blocks under construction because substandard concrete was used.

Concrete strength tests found the podium walls of blocks 1 and 8 of The Pavilia Farm III "did not meet the requirements of the approved design", according to railway operator MTR Corp, which is building the project with New World Development.

〈The Standard, July 9, 2021〉The 846 affected buyers of Pavilia Farm III flats in Tai Wai will receive compensation of between HK$310,000 and HK$1.15 million from the developer, based on an average value of HK$15 million for a flat.

As a result, New World Development is likely to fork out hundreds of millions in compensation.

And the developer is offering buyers a choice of continuing to proceed with the purchase or canceling the transaction. However, property agencies expect most of the customers will continue.

The demolition work will cause a nine-month delay to the occupancy date, originally scheduled for June 20, 2023.

The developer promised to offer three compensation plans to the buyers.

Under the first option, buyers of the residential units could cancel their deals. Under this scenario, based on a property worth HK$15 million on average, New World Development would hand back the buyer's deposit plus an extra HK$310,000.

Under the second option, buyers could choose to repay the mortgage loan immediately. Based on a property worth HK$15 million, each buyer could receive around HK$1.15 million. The HK$1.15 million includes compensation of the mortgage loan interest, which is 7 percent (the prime rate plus 2 percent) and nine months' rent. If the project is delayed more than nine months, the compensation will be more than that.

〈The Standard, July 8, 2021〉The number of property transactions rose 53.7 percent to 50,336 in the first half from a year ago, while total property sales shot up 76.4 percent year-on-year to HK$474.44 billion, data from Hong Kong's Land Registry showed.

However, the latest report from Knight Frank showed that Hong Kong posted only 2.2 percent annual growth in home prices, although global prices are rising at their fastest rate since 2007 and 43 out of the 15 tracked cities are registering annual price growth above 10 percent.

Meanwhile, China Overseas Land and Investment (0688) is launching 286 units in One Victoria in Kai Tak on Saturday after selling 95 percent of 400 units last weekend.

The mainland developer released the fifth price list yesterday, involving 148 units ranging from 332 to 766 square feet, at an average price of HK$28,103 per sq ft.

HKR International (0480) will also launch five houses in IL PICCO at Discovery Bay to sell by tender on

〈Asian Post, July 7, 2021〉City's failure to provide sufficient land for private housing is expected to keep competition alive among developers amid a rebound in sentiment

Hong Kong's failure to provide sufficient land for private housing is expected to keep competition alive among small and medium-sized developers in this quarter's land-sale programme, just as the city's property market is turning rosy again.

The government will offer two parcels of land for public tender in the July-to-September quarter, enough to provide only 200 flats in an undersupplied housing market. The plots at Kowloon Tong and Yuen Long could see keen bidding, with one analyst raising his valuation of the former piece by 36 per cent amid bullish sentiment.

The widespread vaccination programme, positive market atmosphere and the brisk sales in the market "will enhance confidence and desire to invest" among developers, said James Cheung, executive director at Centaline Surveyors. "The response to land bidding will be enthusiastic."

The land sales come as the city's economy emerged from its worst recession on record with a 7.9 per cent expansion in the first quarter while retail sales rebounded. Prices of lived-in homes have rallied this year to within 0.8 per cent of the record-high in May 2019, with some analysts predicting a 5 to 10 per cent jump for 2021.

〈China Daily, July 6, 2021〉Landlords face steep fine under new law

Bill could take effect as early as this year, with penalties of at least HK$10,000 imposed on those overcharging tenants of subdivided flats

Landlords of subdivided flats, home to some of the city's poorest people, face fines of at least HK$10,000 if they overcharge tenants for rent or utilities under a law that could take effect this year.

The government has adopted all the recommendations from a task force that led a study on tenancy control, which submitted its final report in March.

These include tying rent increases for subdivided flats to a market index, capping rises at 15 per cent, and mandating a standard contract between landlords and tenants.

Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan dismissed concerns that landlords would immediately raise rents or evict tenants before the measures were implemented.

"There has already been a very long time between the chief executive's announcement of plans to introduce the tenancy control bill in the current legislative session [in February] and now," he said.