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Property News Weekly Digest
〈Asian Post, Aug 7, 2021〉Hong Kong's home prices rebounded in 1H with the easing of COVID-19. Experts are bullish about the market's prospects, but say a revival will depend on how the inhibiting factors play out in the next few months. Oswald Chan and Zeng Xinlan report from Hong Kong.

Hong Kong's home prices have been traditionally resilient even in times of crises, and have remained so despite the coronavirus outbreak that pushed the city's jobless rate to a 17-year high amid economic recession.

While some experts believe the momentum will continue, others warn that mitigating factors could yet have an adverse effect on the market.

Residential property prices have resumed their upward trajectory since the start of 2021, with the price index of private domestic units tracked by the Rating and Valuation Department hitting a two-year high of 394.5 by late June — a cumulative rise of 3.8 percent from December. Current home prices are just 0.6 percent below the record highs of May 2019.

〈China Daily, Aug 6, 2021〉Residents in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region have a positive attitude toward the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and believe it will benefit businesses as well as people, a survey by Our Hong Kong Foundation found.

Most respondents recognized the economic benefits brought by the development of the Greater Bay Area, with 72 percent agreeing it will increase the potential market size and create more opportunities for Hong Kong businesses, according to the survey, which was released on Thursday.

Fifty-five percent of the respondents believed that more multinational corporations will be attracted to expand their business operations in Hong Kong, creating more job opportunities for the local market.

The findings were based on interviews in April and May with more than 1,000 Hong Kong residents aged 18 and older.

Hong Kong residents' willingness to live on the Chinese mainland is also growing. Sixty-six percent of the respondents believed that the number of people who are interested in living in the Greater Bay Area has increased. While policies related to cost-of-living were the most attractive factors for them in deciding whether to live on the mainland, having access to Hong Kong's medical services and social and housing benefits in mainland cities in the area were also incentives.

〈Asian Post, Aug 5, 2021〉Shui On Land is considering reviving a plan to spin off its commercial investment properties and property management business, and list them in Hong Kong.

The move comes after a plan to spin off its Shanghai property assets, Xintiandi, in 2012 was shelved.

The Shanghai-headquartered developer, controlled by tycoon Vincent Lo Hong-sui, said no decision had been made and such a plan would still depend on regulatory approvals and market conditions.

"No decision has been made by the board," it said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange late on Wednesday.The company also did not specify which properties would be included in the spin-off.

〈The Standard, Aug 4, 2021〉Hong Kong was among one of the seven cities which saw the number of ultra-luxury home transactions double in the first half of 2021, racking up 785 deals over the period, according to Knight Frank.

In value terms, the transactions were worth US$2.4 billion (HK$18.72 billion) year-to-date compared to US$1.4 billion a year ago, the real estate consultant said.

And though Hong Kong's luxury property prices fell 7 percent in 2020, prices now are only about 3 percent lower than historical highs, it added.

The news came as a 2,849-square-foot duplex unit at Dukes Place sold for HK$185 million, or HK$64,935 per sq ft.

A total of 2,843 residential units received pre-sale consent from the Lands Department in July, a 32-month high.

〈China Daily, Aug 3, 2021〉Activity in Hong Kong's mass-housing rental market is picking up, thanks to mainland students who are returning to the city after a year-long gap, as universities resume classroom lectures next month.

Market observers said many of the mainland students would arrive in the city earlier than usual as they had to undergo 14 days of quarantine and prepare for the new academic year, with many booking flats after viewing only photos or videos.

Home rents were likely to rise by 10 per cent in the second half of this year because of the growth in demand from mainland students, economic recovery and vaccinations, said Louis Chan, Asia-Pacific vice-chairman and chief executive of the residential division at Centaline Property Agency.

"The summer high season for leasing has begun. The demand in the leasing market will gradually increase, which is likely to drive rents upwards and support property prices at the same time."