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Property News Weekly Digest
〈Asian Post, July 31, 2021〉City home from home for foreign residents

Many who have been here a long time remain optimistic and are opting to stay believing the security law has restored calm, but they also understand why others want to leave

Judith Mackay arrived in Hong Kong in 1967 to find it engulfed in pro-communist riots, and recalls the posters that screamed: "Imperialists, go home."

A young doctor from Yorkshire, England, Mackay worked in Hong Kong hospitals until she became an anti-tobacco lobbyist in 1984.

The 78-year-old has seen changes in the city over the decades, including its 1997 return to Chinese rule, the 2003 Sars outbreak which claimed 299 lives, the social unrest of 2019 and through to the present day.

Married with two sons settled in Britain, she says from her spacious home in upscale Clear Water Bay: "I'm staying in Hong Kong, because it is my home."

〈Taipei Times, July 30,2021〉After a years-long campaign to tame property prices, China is upping the ante to break a stubborn cycle of gains that has made homes increasingly unaffordable.

In the past few days, China jacked up mortgage rates in a major city, vowed to accelerate the development of government subsidized rental housing and moved to increase scrutiny on everything from financing of developers and newly listed home prices to title transfers.

Echoing Chinese President Xi Jinping’s famous words that "housing is for living in and not for speculation," Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng (韓正) said that the sector should not be used as a short-term tool to stimulate the economy.

The intensified focus on real estate — an industry that was already under the scanner — mirrors broader crackdowns on businesses such as education that are seen as widening social inequities.

〈Macau Times, July 29, 2021〉THE city's property market remained stagnant with no significant improvement despite the increase in visitors since the reopening of the border with China last year.

This was the verdict of real estate firm JLL in its Macau Mid-year Review2021.

During the first half of 2021, the city has seen a gradual improvement in an economy that was heavily affected by the pandemic.

The fixed capital formation, private consumption expenditure and government consumption expenditure all recorded growth in the first quarter (Q1), up 22.0%, 14.8% and 0.2% year-on-year respectively.

"Recently Hong Kong and Macau are exploring the easing of the travel restrictions between the two cities. This will create a positive effect on Macau's tourist and business sectors, and it's especially important for the recovery of the city's economy, retail and real estate markets," said Mark Wong, director of Valuation Advisory Services at JLL Macau.

"In the short term, central banks across the globe are expected to continue to adopt quantitative easing monetary policies. With the new normal post pandemic, pent--up property demand will be released gradually. We expect Macau's property market to remain stable in the second half of the year," he added.

〈China Daily, July 28, 2021〉Hong Kong's property market has been developing in an "unhealthy" way for 20 years, Ronnie Chan Chi-chung, chairman of Hang Lung Property (0101), declared as he pointed a finger of blame at the Legislative Council.

Chan also said during an online conference that the legislature had stymied the administration's efforts to explore the supply of new land for development in the New Territories East as well as on the peripheries of country parks while resisting reclamation.

After the implementation of the national security law, however, the SAR had changed fundamentally and appeared to be on the way to having increasing land supply for 50 years.

Chan claimed too that his views on the Hong Kong property market are neutral, though Hang Lung is interested in developing high-end flats.

Although mainland investors were seen to be keen to buy property in Hong Kong, Chan added, most flats in a Hang Lung residential project on Blue Pool Road in Happy Valley that were priced at over HK$300 million were brought by Hongkongers.

〈Asian Post, July 27, 2021〉New Territories' prices outpace Kowloon

Residential prices for primary projects in the New Territories have been growing at a faster pace than those in Kowloon, said JLL.

The difference in price premiums between new residential projects in Kowloon and the New Territories narrowed by about 20 percentage points over the past 10 years, with projects in the New Territories boasting a 21 percent lower unit price than those in Kowloon, the research showed.

Norry Lee, senior director of projects strategy and consultancy department at JLL in Hong Kong, said preference for space and living quality, low density development and large clubhouse facilities increasingly nudged home buyers to target projects in suburban areas.

Commute times are reducing now that new infrastructure is being developed, and more retailers are entering the area which enhances the appeal of the areas, said Lee.