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Property News Weekly Digest
〈Asian Post, Oct 2, 2021〉Homebuyers snapped up more than 80 per cent of the flats on offer at a National Day holiday sale yesterday, encouraged by an improving local economy and falling unemployment.

Nan Fung Group and MTR Corporation sold 150 of the 179 flats at the LP10 project at Lohas Park in Tseung Kwan O as of 4.30pm yesterday, after receiving more than 645 registrations of interest, or some 3.5 bids for each flat, according to sales agents.

"The sentiment in the housing market now is robust because the city's economy is recovering," said Derek Chan, head of research at Ricacorp Properties.

Many buyers, who were waiting on the sidelines last year, were entering the market, fearing they might not be able to afford homes if prices continued to rise, he added.

Hong Kong's unemployment rate fell in August to its lowest level since the pandemic began, with the latest official figures showing that the city's jobless rate dropped to 4.7 per cent for the three-month period ending in August, the lowest since early 2020.

〈Asian Post, Oct 1, 2021〉Shops and restaurants benefit as second round of digital coupons arrives, with some people saying the scheme had encouraged them to splash out

Hong Kong residents flocked to restaurants and shopping centres yesterday to celebrate the arrival of the second batch of government consumption vouchers.

Customers were seen happily presenting the digital vouchers to snap up items such as jewellery, smartphones and electrical appliances, with malls drawing in crowds not only for shopping sprees, but also for meals out with family and friends.

Many shoppers told the Post that the HK$36 billion government initiative - under which residents were entitled to HK$5,000 in vouchers on the digital payment platform of their choice - had convinced them to loosen their purse strings and spend even more, part of the scheme's stated aim.

One such shopper was toy company owner Andy Fung, 50, who splashed out more than HK$134,000 at a Chow Tai Fook in Kwun Tong for a gold bridal necklace weighing more than six taels. He used the HK$3,000 worth of digital vouchers he received yesterday to offset the cost.

〈China Daily, Sep 30, 2021〉Swire Properties has opened its second mass market commercial property in Shanghai's emerging business district, drawing international brands ranging from Cartier to Dior to the city's newest shopping landmark.

The 120,000 square metre Taikoo Li Qiantan complex, with 250 stores spanning fashion, dining, entertainment, health and lifestyle, and arts and culture, officially opened in Qiantan on Thursday. The complex in the Pudong New Area is dubbed as Shanghai's "second Lujiazui".

It is Swire Properties' third Taikoo Li project on the mainland, which the Hong Kong-listed firm has developed with state-owned Lujiazui Group. The Taikoo Li brand is renowned for its open-plan and lane-driven architectural design. Situated near the site of the 2010 World Expo, the complex features an open green space and lanes across the ground level and rooftop.

"We are confident that Taikoo Li Qiantan will help to transform Pudong as a famous shopping circle in the years to come, further elevating Shanghai's global influence as an international consumption hub," said Tim Blackburn, chief executive of Swire Properties.

〈The Standard, Sep 29, 2021〉The largest redevelopment project by private home builders - costing more than HK$10 billion for one million square feet of gross floor area - is taking place in Hung Hom, where urban residential lots are scarce.

The redevelopment project is in full flow after Henderson Land (0012) completed the acquisition of old buildings on Whampoa Street and its surroundings, including Gillies Avenue South, Bulkeley Street and Baker Street.

It is expected to offer about 2,600 flats. The first phase of the project is to put 300 flats on the market as soon as the end of this year.

The property giant is also working on the second-largest private redevelopment project in Tai Kok Tsui.

That has a gross floor area of one million square feet and involves changing land use of industrial buildings to residential. It has been transformed into the "Square Mile," consisting of seven phases, with three of them launched on the market.

〈 The Straits Times, Sep 28, 2021〉It is now widely accepted that the crisis that has engulfed Evergrande, which is weighed down by more than US$300 billion (S$406 billion) in debt, will spread beyond the Chinese property developer itself. But the question is: how far?

Will it be contained as a domestic real-estate crisis or will it be more than that? What other entities will be impacted within China and beyond its shores? What second-order effects could there be?

Some observers have speculated that the Evergrande crisis may be China's "Lehman moment" - a reference to the collapse of the US investment bank Lehman Brothers in 2008 which ushered in the global financial crisis. This fear should be laid to rest.

Evergrande is not a bank, nor does it have derivative exposures around the world. At around US$20 billion, its external debt is relatively modest and its direct links to the global economy are of little consequence, other than losses for some foreign bond and equity holders. Its institutional counter parties - mainly domestic banks - are mostly government controlled or influenced.