Housing development could set NT records

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 August, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 August, 2010, 12:00am

In the midst of the government's efforts to cool rising home prices, Sun Hung Kai Properties yesterday said it would build a housing development that could set record-breaking prices for the New Territories.

The world's largest developer by market value said it would launch Valais, at Beas River in Sheung Shui, in the coming weeks.

With detached and semi-detached houses ranging from 2,600 to 4,500 square feet, the cheapest unit would cost about HK$30 million, said Victor Lui Ting, an executive director at Sun Hung Kai Real Estate Agency. The most expensive house is to be sold at more than HK$100 million or more than HK$20,000 per square foot. 'It will break the record in the New Territories,' Lui said.

At such prices, the project is not targeted at the general public. Lui expects affluent mainlanders and Hong Kong manufacturers to be the main focus.

Valais would be just a three-minute drive from Huanggang opposite Lok Ma Chau, providing convenient access to the mainland, he said. 'Many manufacturers who live on The Peak also showed initial interest in the project.'

The homes will have vast private gardens, some with river views. Valais will cover more than 1.7 million sqft and be developed in two phases.

The proposed launch of the expensive housing development came less than two weeks after the government announced measures to cool the market. On August 13, the government banned the quick resale of flats and vowed to put more land on the market. It also tightened lending from the current 70 per cent of a property's value to 60 per cent for properties costing HK$12 million or more and those not for self-use.

A week after the announcement, Cheung Kong (Holdings) bid more than the highest forecast for two sites at a government auction, paying HK$4.1 billion for a site in Argyle Street and HK$3.51 billion for a plot in Hung Hom.

Lui said the company's clients seldom borrowed more than 50 per cent of the purchase price, with some not arranging any loans.

He said the measures would cool property speculation.

Asked whether restrictions should be imposed on outside investors buying flats in the city, Lui said the government should consider carefully the potential economic impact before making any decision.