〈Asian Post, June 6, 2020〉The Shamrock Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui, a favourite haunt of kung fu star Bruce Lee's family during the 1950s, will close after almost seven decades in business, bowing to a recession in the city that is leaving two in every three hotel rooms empty.
The nine-storey hotel, located on the corner of Bowring and Nathan roads near the Jordan MTR station, will shut on June 14, according to staff contacted by the Post.
With 160 rooms, the four-star hotel might need to take a 40 per cent discount in its valuation, after failing to find a buyer when it was first put on the market in 2018 for HK$3 billion, valuers said.
"It is not easy to find a buyer at this moment, particularly for a [non-operating] hotel," said Vincent Cheung of Vincorn Consulting, who values the property at HK$1.8 billion.
"Both the office and hotel markets are suffering from plunging rates. The best the owner or the new buyer could do would be to turn the building into a block of serviced apartments."
〈China Daily, June 5, 2020〉As businesses across Hong Kong resume operations, landlords will face new challenges from prospective tenants whose office-space requirements have changed in the wake of COVID-19. Sophie He reports from Hong Kong.
The coronavirus pandemic may have created a lasting or, at least, immediate impact on the way businesses in Hong Kong operate — changing the office-rental landscape by disrupting the working structure for employees with social distancing rules and fueling the practice of working from home.
Grade-A offices in Central — one of the most expensive office locations in the world — has seen the vacancy rate climb to above 4 percent, and rentals sliced 15 percent from their recent highs, according to local real-estate advisory companies.
Although industry experts say it’s still "too early" to say whether commercial office rentals have been permanently altered by the pandemic, the mentality of tenants and their demands are definitely changing.
The disruption in Hong Kong’s office rental sector has been severe in the past few months as the fallout from the outbreak became more apparent, Marcos Chan, executive director and head of research of the Greater Bay Area and Hong Kong at CBRE, told China Daily.
〈The Standard, June 5, 2020〉Valuations rise as market bounces back
Bank valuations for Hong Kong's 20 major housing estates rose last month by about 1 to 5 percent month on month as the Covid-19 pandemic eased, while banks raised their mortgage rates to counter uncertainties.
The number of flat viewings and inquiries also bounced back as social distancing rules were relaxed.
Of the 20 major housing estates, bank valuations for Caribbean Coast in Tung Chung surged the most, increasing 5.9 percent month on month.
A 506-square-foot flat at Caribbean Coast was valued at HK$6.39 million last month, up from HK$6.03 million in April.
In Tin Shui Wai, a 557-sq-ft flat at Kingswood Villas was valued at HK$6.03 million, up by 5.7 percent from a month earlier. The unit was valued at HK$5.7 million in April.
In Kowloon, the valuation of an 852-sq-ft flat at Whampoa Garden in Hung Hom rose by 5.2 percent month on month to HK$12.84 million last month.
An 832-sq-ft flat in Mei Foo Sun Chuen in Lai Chi Kok was valued at HK$10.63 million last month, 3.1 percent higher than in April.
〈Asian Post, June 4, 2020〉Australian investment bank Macquarie Group is giving up a major portion of space it leases at One IFC, one of the most expensive office buildings in Hong Kong, as finance firms rethink their office needs and look to cut costs in an uncertain economy.
Macquarie will surrender 13 out of 16 units on the 20th floor before the end of September, according to Land Registry documents.
The 17,000 sq ft space had been sublet to The Executive Centre since 2015. The co- working space operator would lease directly from the landlord from October, people familiar with the matter told the Post.
None of the bank's 500 employees used the space that was being given up, they added.
Property consultancy Savills said in its latest report that more of these surrenders could be expected from financial and professional services firms as the pandemic weighed on their businesses.
"Covid-19 has caused extensive disruption to global production and trading activity, and the solvency of some corporates is expected to be tested under these uncertain conditions with implications for the local office market," Savills said.
〈The Standard, June 3, 2020〉Rents for tiny flats heading down
Rental costs for some of the city's smallest dwellings slide towards the levels of subdivided units
Rents on tiny flats in some of Hong Kong's chic developments are sliding towards the rates of the city's subdivided flats as landlords concede more ground in a recession-hit economy, property agents say.
At least 10 projects completed in recent years have had flats leased out at or below HK$10,000 a month since the beginning of this year, as rising unemployment and campus closures hurt demand from young professionals and foreign students.
With clouds over the economy, rents have slipped by 10 per cent on average in the broader market since they peaked in August last year, according to data published by the Rating and Valuation Department. The rates for units smaller than 430 sq ft dropped 11.8 per cent, more than the 9.2 per cent retreat for those measuring 431 sq ft to 752 sq ft.
"Some landlords said their tenants might have been laid off and discussed terms with them, including requests for a 10 per cent reduction in rents and delaying them by one to two months," said Jeffrey Lam, chief area director at Hong Kong Property Services (Agency).