• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 11:50am
PropertyHong Kong & China

Liquidity crunch forces mainlanders to cash out of Hong Kong luxury homes

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 March, 2014, 4:01pm
UPDATED : Friday, 21 March, 2014, 12:15pm

Cash-strapped mainland Chinese are scrambling to sell their luxury homes in Hong Kong, and some are knocking up to a fifth off the price for a quick sale, as a liquidity crunch looms on the mainland.

Wealthy Chinese were blamed for pushing up property prices in the city, where they accounted for 43 per cent of new luxury home sales in the third quarter of 2012, before an increase on stamp duty on non-resident buyers was announced.

The rush to sell coincides with a forecast 10 per cent drop in property prices this year as the increase in duty and rising borrowing costs cool demand.

At the same time, credit conditions in China have tightened. Earlier this week, the looming bankruptcy of a Chinese property developer owing 3.5 billion yuan (HK$4.4 billion) heightened concerns that financial risk was spreading.

“Some of the mainland sellers have liquidity issues say, their companies in China have some difficulties so they sold the houses to get cash,” said Norton Ng, account manager at a Centaline Property Agency office close to the border, where luxury houses costing up to HK$30 million have been popular with mainland buyers.

Property agents said mainlanders own close to a third of the existing homes that are now for sale in Hong Kong – up 20 per cent from a year ago. Many are offering discounts of 5-10 per cent below the market average – and in some cases as much as 20 per cent – to make a quick sale, property agents and analysts said.

In a Hong Kong housing development called Valais, about 10 minutes drive from the border, real estate agents said between a quarter and half of the 330 houses are now on sale.

At the development’s frenzied debut in 2010, a third of the HK$30 million-HK$66 million units were sold on the first day, with nearly half going to mainland buyers.

Dubbed a “ghost town” by local media, the development, built by Sun Hung Kai Properties, is one of many estates where agents are seeing an increasing number of mainlanders eager to sell.

“Many mainland buyers bought lots of properties in Hong Kong when the market was red-hot three years ago,” said Joseph Tsang, managing director at JLL. “But now they want to cash in, as liquidity is quite tight on the mainland.”

A spokesman for SHKP said the occupancy rate at Valais was 75 per cent, and most of the second-hand units for sale were “looking for a good selling price and not eager to sell at deep discounts”.

In a nearby development called The Green – developed by China Overseas Land and Investment – about one-fifth of the houses delivered at the start of this year are up for sale. More than half of the units, bought for between HK$18 million and HK$60 million, were snapped up by mainlanders in 2012.

“Some banks were chasing [mainland owners] for money, so they need to move some cash back to the mainland,” said Ricky Poon, executive director of residential sales at Colliers International. “They’re under greater pressure from banks, so they’re cutting prices.”

In West Kowloon, an area where mainlanders bought up close to a quarter of the flats in many newly developed estates, some mainland owners are offering discounts on the higher-end, three- to four-bedroom flats they bought just a few years ago.

This month, a mainlander sold a 1,300 square foot flat at the Imperial Cullinan – a high-end estate developed by SHKP in 2012 – for HK$19.3 million, 17 per cent less than the original price.

The landlord told agents to sell the flat “as soon as possible”, said Richard Chan, branch manager at Centaline in West Kowloon.

In the same area, a 645 sq ft, two-bedroom flat in the Central Park development was sold in just two days after the mainland owner put it on the market at HK$6.5 million in what agents called the year’s best bargain – the cheapest price for a unit of its kind over the past year.


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This article is now closed to comments

‘Cash-strapped mainland Chinese are scrambling to sell their luxury homes in Hong Kong, and some are knocking up to a fifth off the price for a quick sale, as a liquidity crunch looms on the mainland.’
Those mainlanders who bought luxury property in Hong Kong hardly would be cash-strapped anytime. It may be just thinking about cashing out for something even more expansive flats and houses in upturn market elsewhere.
But I wouldn’t exclude the probability that mainland investors are wiping their slate clean not to leave tracks of their ill-gotten gains. The cleanup in corruption in mainland looks quite real and serious.
Local buyers may even want a bigger discount. Accept not just 5% or 10% but 50% discount. If you are lucky you may get one free if the owner is really in a bind. I normally don’t think it is right to capitalize on one’s misfortune. But this time it is an exception. Hong Kong’s proper property market has really suffered enough.
Incoming property crash
Glad to hear this news...........maybe once they take their money back to the mainland, the money and the mainlanders will stay there for a long long time.............
To all those developers who keep saying there is not enough supply in hk, so prices cant go down...wait until all the speculators who own flats but dont live there or rent them out, start to unload them! It has begun. And will only get worse when interest rates start to go up.
They have until 2020 when the so promised centralized property listing database will be done.
well thats pretty discrimatory and just not nice. you miss all the benefits of multiple cultures and additionally, if you havent checked it out, HK is part of China.
Some of this has got to be to free up ransom money for the passengers being held hostage in Somalia. I figured it out on May 15th. That was why, when THEY called China on May 11th, China had this mysterious image south of Vietnam when everyone else had already turned towards the NW. That was cooperating with the kidnappers or Yingying dies.
To don....
2020 is for domestic property.
To Dislike (1)
So you like the central government to include Hong Kong for its centralized property registration? I think you are so desperate to save the luxury property market that you clicked your like wrong.
To Disliked (n),
The investment for permanent residency scheme is casted in doubt if central government maintains its momentum on its war on corruption. It is a blow for those mainlanders who may have paid their luxury home in Hong Kong with money from questionable source.
But why should you Dislikeds care unless you want to sell few more or infinitely number of luxury homes to these mainlanders? Assisting in money laundry really.


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