New projects lure thousands but sell few units

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 December, 2006, 12:00am

Celebrations this Christmas season have not been limited to shopping malls, with developers taking part in the festivities by showering homeseekers with gifts and holiday treats to lure them to their new projects.

During the four-day holiday from December 23, most new projects in different districts attracted tens of thousands of visitors who opted not to spend their vacation overseas.

But despite free food, drinks and a variety of performances, agents said only a handful of units were sold as many holidaymakers had travelled aboard.

'We have seen a number of people turn out to view show flats at various new projects over the weekend,' said Lo Chi-ho, regional sales director of Centaline Property Agency in Tai Po and Sha Tin.

In Tai Po, Henderson Land Development's Beverly Hills attracted more than 40,000 visitors on the first three days of the holiday.

Another new project, La Rossa in Tung Chung built by HKR International, drew more than 15,000 flat viewers during the same period.

Agents said the market focus was on new projects including La Rossa and Beverly Hills, which were either on sale or to be released shortly.

Henderson assistant general sales manager Thomas Lam had said earlier the firm would offer the first batch of 70 houses at the Beverly Hills at HK$6,000 to HK$9,000 per square foot next year. The project comprises 535 townhouse units.

Market sources said negotiations for five townhouses priced between HK$14 million and HK$32 million each were under way during the holiday.

Lau Chun-kit, Ricacorp Properties' district manager for Tung Chung, expects about 20 units at La Rossa will be sold during the holiday.

'La Rossa should top sales among new projects for these past several days,' he said.

Units already sold fetched HK$3,200 to HK$3,600 per square foot, said Mr Lau.

He said La Rossa managed to attract buyers due to the small lump sum involved, with a one-bedroom unit costing about HK$1.7 million.

However, sentiment in the secondary market remained more subdued than in the primary market.

'It is very quiet in the second-hand market,' said Mr Lo, citing transactions volumes that had dropped as much as 30 per cent from November.

Midland Realty said there were 43 units sold at its surveyed 10 key housing estates during the holiday.

In a report, it predicted secondary market deals would reach 70,000 this year, down 20 per cent from last year.

Midland chief analyst Buggle Lau Ka-fai said the average residential price rose 2.4 per cent from a year ago based on transactions at 50 major housing estates surveyed.

Mei Foo Sun Chuen in Lai Chi Kok, Kingswood Villas in Tin Shui Wai and City One in Sha Tin were the three most heavily traded housing estates during the year.

Mr Lau expects 90,000 secondary market transactions next year.