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Property News Weekly Digest
〈China Daily, Sep 11, 2021〉State-owned developers with massive land banks in Qianhai stand to benefit the most from an expansion of an economic zone there, as demand for houses is likely to increase on the back of a steady influx of talent.

The zone, which was originally created in 2009 to foster cooperation between Shenzhen and Hong Kong, will increase in size from 14.9 sq km to 120.6 sq km to entice more businesses to open operations in the area, according to a blueprint unveiled by the State Council, the nation's cabinet, on Monday.

"The Qianhai zone must deepen its service trade liberalisation with Hong Kong and Macau, expand the opening up of its financial industry and legal services, as well as participate in international collaboration," read the blueprint, which envisions making the zone "world class" by 2035.

The plan would lead to a rush of people settling in the area, particularly talent from Hong Kong and Macau, thus increasing demand for houses, according to Yan Yuejin, director of Shanghai-based E-House China Research and Development Institute.

〈Asian Post, Sep 10, 2021〉US giant cites lack of progress in meeting deal conditions by December 31 target for completion

US private equity giant Blackstone Group has abandoned its US$3.05 billion offer to buy developer Soho China, halting its expansion plans on the mainland market through one of its biggest real estate acquisitions in Asia.

The firm decided not to proceed with its HK$5 per share offer, citing the lack of progress in fulfilling the conditions by the targeted completion date of December 31, according to an exchange filing yesterday. That offer in June valued the entire listed firm at HK$26 billion.

All parties in the deal agreed not to extend the deadline, the statement added.

The cancellation came after the mainland's antitrust regulator, the State Administration for Market Regulation, last month started reviewing the transaction. Yesterday's announcement did not say if it was related to this scrutiny. However, the review by the antitrust watchdog was one of the prerequisites that had to be satisfied for the deal to go through when the proposed sale was announced in June.

〈China Daily, Sep 9, 2021〉Net profit at Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) rose 13.45 percent to HK$26.69 billion.

The developer declared a final dividend of HK$3.70 per share for the year ended June 30.

Excluding revaluations on investment properties, underlying earnings inched up 1.71 percent to HK$29.87 billion, chairman and managing director Raymond Kwok Ping-luen said in an exchange filing.

That compared with the average estimate of HK$30.6 billion from 13 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Overall profit from property sales, including from joint ventures, increased by 14 percent to HK$20.99 billion.

Profit from property sales in Hong Kong declined by HK$1.76 billion to HK$14.57 billion due to lower residential sales.

Profit from Hong Kong operations mainly came from residential projects including Cullinan West III, St Martin Phase 2, Mount Regency Phase II, Wetland Seasons Park Phase 1, as well as W Luxe office units.

〈The Standard, Sep 7, 2021〉Centaline Property's Asia-Pacific vice-chairman of the residential division Louis Chan Wing-kit and Vincorn Consulting and Appraisal's managing director Vincent Cheung Kiu-cho bought luxury apartments recently amid a bullish sentiment in the market.

Chan bought a 1,335-square-feet apartment with a boat parking space in Marina Cove in Sai Kung for HK$35.5 million, or HK$26,592 per sq ft, according to information from the Land Registry.

He said he bought the bungalow as a first-home buyer for self-occupation at a reasonable price and retains a positive outlook for the property market, adding that there will be a healthy recovery in the long run, and he can take advantage of having mortgages in the low-interest-rate environment.

Cheung spent HK$41.39 million on a 1,971 sq ft unit with a parking space in La Cresta in Sha Tin, which is about HK$20,998 per sq ft.

Cheung said he purchased the unit to replace the one he currently lives in as he is worried that he would face greater competition in buying luxury flats in the urban area once Hong Kong reopens its borders.

〈China Daily, Sep 7, 2021〉Government steps in over unfinished flats

Buyers of tycoon Pan Sutong's luxury Grand Homm project in Ho Man Tin will be allowed to cancel their contracts and receive refunds with interest

The government said buyers of an unfinished residential complex in Ho Man Tin can terminate their contracts and be entitled to refunds with interest, as local authorities step in to prevent the city's first uncompleted project in decades from hurting consumers.

Customers of the Grand Homm project are entitled to their refunds, including interest, within seven days of the cancellation of their sales agreements, according to a statement by the Sales of First-hand Residential Properties Authority (SRPA).

"If the buyers believe that the seller has not fulfilled the relevant contract provisions, they may consider filing a civil lawsuit against the seller for their due rights," the SRPA's spokeswoman said in a statement.