Resident stunned by high prices after 20 years in Tai Wai

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 March, 2010, 12:00am

Housewife Yuki Siu, who has lived in Tai Wai in the New Territories for more than two decades, was shocked to hear last Friday that Cheung Kong (Holdings) was selling units at its nearby Festival City development at an average of more than HK$9,000 per square foot.

The development is just a few hundred metres from where she lives at Holford Garden, a government subsidised housing estate built in 1985.

Siu has been keeping an eye on property prices because she is looking for a unit for her son, who is getting married. Now she worries that the Festival City development will push up prices in an area dominated by low-rent and government-subsidised housing.

Previously, prices in Tai Wai averaged HK$3,000 to HK$4,500 per square foot, Siu said. 'I do not understand how prices can now be so high.'

For the moment, she takes comfort from reports that sales at Festival City have not been as strong as the market was expecting. Sales in the secondary market also slowed last week after a big start in the new year.

Sales at one estate in Tai Wai, the Golden Lion Garden, fell from more than 70 transactions in January to just 15 this month, Ricacorp data shows. Prices, which had risen 6 per cent to HK$3,192 per square foot from January to February, fell to HK$3,161.

The slowdown in deals was seen across the board in the secondary market last week. Ricacorp found that in the 50 housing estates it monitors, preliminary sales and purchase agreements were signed for 347 units between March 22 and 28, a 23 per cent decline on the previous week when 448 agreements were signed.

At Lei King Wan on Hong Kong Island, there were no transactions last week, while sales at Discovery Park in Tsuen Wan dropped 76 per cent from a week earlier.

Bucking this trend was Tung Chung New Town in Lantau. Transactions at the Caribbean Coast rose 60 per cent to 24 deals last week, with agents saying the activity was boosted by the government announcement that a residential site at Tung Chung had been triggered for auction. The auction will take place on May 11.

Ricacorp said secondary market sales could fall by 10 to 20 per cent in the week ahead as buyers take a break for Easter.