Friday, June 22, 2018
Martin Hennecke

Tai Po site fetches a basement price
A residential site on Yat Yiu Avenue in Tai Po was awarded yesterday to Manifold Ltd, a company associated with Hong Kong-based Manhattan Group, for HK$323 million, or HK$5,506 per square foot - right at the low end of market evaluation.

Manhattan general manager Patrick Chow Kwok-choi said the firm plans to build low-density flats on the site, investing about HK$1 billion.

The site occupies an area of about 82,452 square feet, with maximum gross floor area of 58,663 sq ft. Market valuation was between HK$323 million and HK$469 million.

In July last year, the group acquired a nearby site in Tai Po for HK$1.18 billion, or HK$4,551 per sq ft. That site has a maximum gross floor area of about 259,712 sq ft.

Hong Kong home prices - the least affordable in the world - rose 21 percent in the 12 months to June 30, the second- biggest gain globally after Iceland, according to a report from property consultancy Knight Frank.

A survey by property information website, GoHome, found that 91 percent of 2,993 SAR respondents think that the government failed to introduce effective measures to curb the property prices in the past five years, and 50 percent of them expect continuous price rises.

The poll also found 83 percent of respondents were dissatisfied with the housing policy implemented by former chief executive Leung Chun-ying.

Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo- po warned potential buyers to be careful buying property, as moves by the US Federal Reserve to unwind its balance sheet may shrink money supply.

"One has to be very careful if one really wants to buy a property in Hong Kong," Chan said in an interview with Bloomberg.

Buyers need to assess their ability to service mortgages as interest rates normalize, he said.

Past experience indicates that rising US interest rates will "definitely" affect Hong Kong asset prices, Chan said. Combined with the increased supply of homes, "I would not be surprised if there will be a certain adjustment in the market," he said.

Meanwhile, Lawrence Poon Wing- cheung, senior lecturer in building science and technology at the City University Hong Kong, said the target annual supply of housing will comprise a higher proportion of subsidized units instead of private units.

Speaking at the Australian REA Group's media presentation yesterday, Poon said the ideal number of supply would be 18,000 units for subsidized housing and 8,000 units for private housing, plus 20,000 public housing units for rent annually.

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