PEAK of style
So far this year, prices have managed to hold firm in the primary property market. Now the market is looking ahead to the line-up of new properties that will be available for the remainder of the year.
Developers are expecting new luxury properties to command high prices, especially for rare super-deluxe residences on Hong Kong Island, although overall market sentiment seems to have slowed in the wake of the euro-zone debt crisis and stock market volatility.
Opus Hong Kong, newly built by Swire Properties on The Peak, is perhaps the most high-profile project. Agents say prices may range from HK$68,000 to HK$80,000 per square foot. As it is the first residential project in Asia that was designed by architect Frank Gehry, who designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, Opus comprises two double-level garden apartments and 10 apartments of 6,000 sq ft to 6,900 sq ft, each unique in design and occupying an entire floor of the 12-storey building.
'The completion of Opus Hong Kong continues our vision to bring highly creative and innovative new architecture to the communities in which we work. Frank Gehry has created one of the most significant new designs in Asia,' says Martin Cubbon, chief executive of Swire Properties.
Another Swire luxury project is Argenta in Mid-Levels West, offering 28 three-bedroom apartments with two en suites, each with an area of 2,728 sq ft, plus a double-storey penthouse of 4,450 sq ft and a deluxe apartment of 2,640 sq ft with a roof. Three apartments were reportedly sold at an average price of up to HK$35,000 per square foot.
'The market still looks good, particularly for luxury flats on Hong Kong Island where fewer than 2,000 new flats are expected to come on stream this year,' says Kenny Au-yeung, senior district manager of Centaline's Stately Home.
On The Peak, Sun Hung Kai Properties' (SHKP) luxurious Twelve Peaks, comprising 12 luxury houses, will be a major focus in the primary market this year. Agents say SHKP appears to be taking its time to launch the houses, which are likely to draw exceptional response from wealthy buyers.
According to Midland Realty, about 1,500 new flats on Hong Kong Island may be launched for sale in the remainder of this year. In Mid-Levels, Cheung Kong is marketing its new project, Kennedy Park at Central, offering 50 luxury apartments.
Wing Tai Properties has a 77-unit development at 1-2 Coronation Terrace. Other projects include Chinese Estates and New World Development's 47-unit joint venture at 55 Conduit Road and Kerry Properties' 74-unit project on Mosque Street. Chinachem Group is developing 29 luxury residences on Bisney Road in Pok Fu Lam that may go on sale later this year.
In Happy Valley, Hang Lung Development is building 18 luxury homes on Blue Pool Road, which may set a new benchmark in the area. Further east on Hong Kong Island, Swire is developing 92 luxury apartments on Sai Wan Terrace, which may go on sale this year.
Simon Lo Wing-fai, executive director of research and advisory for Asia at Colliers International, says developers will be pragmatic when it comes to prices. He says sales momentum has slowed in the primary sales market due to the cautious lending policy of banks towards luxury homes. Developers may respond to the changes and adjust their prices closer to the secondary market.
'Price premiums will remain there at about 20 per cent due to the factor of quality. However, it is significantly lower than that of 40 to 50 per cent during the last upswing. Any expansion of price premiums in the future may depend on the subsequent pick-up of volume in the second half of 2012,' he says.
Agents estimate that about 3,000 new flats in Kowloon may be released by developers over the next six months. The largest project is Hang Lung's The Long Beach with about 1,000 units. Five new projects are coming up around Prince Edward Road West and Argyle Street, a traditional luxury residential area, but only about 200 units will be put on the market. Swire has a 53-unit project at 146 Argyle Street, while Wheelock Properties will launch its Kadoorie Hill at Prince Edward Road West, providing 66 luxury apartments, mainly three-bedroom or larger.
In the New Territories, The Riverpark by New World Development will provide 981 units at Che Kung Temple Station in Sha Tin, while a New World-Henderson Land joint venture, Double Cove in Ma On Shan, will offer more than 900 units in its first phase.
Providence Peak by Sino Land and its partners, the latest phase of Providence Bay in Pak Shek Kok, will provide 548 units in varying sizes. The 800-unit first phase of The Beaumount by Cheung Kong in Tseung Kwan O is also expected to be released soon.
SHKP's Century Gateway in Tuen Mun will have 1,075 units in its first phase, while HKR International may also market its 164-unit Amalfi project in Discovery Bay.