Developers rush to make up for lost time after cooling measures

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 April, 2011, 12:00am


Developers are rushing to release eight new residential projects this month to catch up on revenue after a five-month sales halt caused by cooling measures announced last year.

'Most developers were reluctant to launch new projects after the government imposed additional stamp duties on property sales and announced other cooling measures in November. They've missed out over the past five months,' said Louis Chan, managing director of the residential department at Centaline Property Agency.

Five projects - Kerry Properties' Lions Rise in Wong Tai Sin, Sun Hung Kai's Imperial Cullinan in Tai Kok Tsui and One Regent Place in Yuen Long, Uptown in Yuen Long by Cheung Kong (Holdings) and Emperor International's 18 Upper East in Sai Wan Ho - are in the pipeline for release this month.

Swire Properties' Azura in Mid-Levels West, Henderson Land Development's Hill Paramount in Tai Wai and Sino Land's joint-venture project The Hermitage in Tai Kok Tsui have also kicked off new marketing campaigns to promote their remaining flats.

Chu Ip-pui, executive director at Kerry, yesterday estimated the company would receive pre-sale consent for Lions Rise from the Lands Department in the next two weeks. It planned to launch the project this month. 'We will sell 50 flats in the first stage, with an asking price of HK$12,000 per square foot,' he said.

The developer promoted the 968-flat project in Shenzhen early this month, and about 20 per cent of buyers are expected to be from the mainland.

Victor Lui Ting, executive director at Sun Hung Kai Real Estate Agency, yesterday said the firm was aiming to sell Imperial Cullinan at the end of this month. The project provides 650 flats ranging from 800 to 1,900 sqft. The target price is HK$20,000 per sqft.

David Ng, head of regional property research at Royal Bank of Scotland, said the sale of the two projects would be the indicator of the property market as they were the largest developments.

'The sales could test how active the property market is,' he said.

Louis Chan, from Centaline, said he expected asking prices for the new projects to be conservative, reflecting strong competition in the primary market. 'But the second-hand market will suffer as many potential buyers would be attracted by the new projects. We will see prices and sales of second-hand properties drop in the short term,' he added.

Kerry Properties is part of the Kerry Group, the controlling shareholder of the SCMP Group, which publishes the South China Morning Post.