Macau's luxury residential market has experienced similar fortunes to Hong Kong's this year, with fewer transactions in the second half, a sharp turn from brisk trade at the start of the year.
The brakes were put on the price rally after the Macau government introduced a special stamp duty to quell property speculation in April followed by tightened mortgage-lending limits for local and overseas homebuyers.
Although transaction volumes have decreased markedly since, luxury home prices are holding firm with limited supply and sustained strong demand, according to property consultants.
Jeff Wong, head of residential in Macau with Jones Lang LaSalle, says there is a relatively small stock of luxury properties in Macau with very few new projects coming on stream every year.
'The special stamp duty and tightened mortgage rules have cooled sales activity but prices remain firm. The market is still supported by strong underlying demand from local wealthy people with a solid economy backed by the casino industry,' he says.
'Non-local capital involved in Macau's residential market is estimated at 10 per cent, meaning that hot money is not an issue there. That's why the market has been relatively stable. Among the overseas buyers, cash-rich mainlanders represent the major driving force.'
One of the major luxury projects that drew positive sales earlier this year was South Residence, the second phase of One Oasis being developed by a consortium comprising ITC Properties, Linkeast Investments and Nan Fung Development at Cotai, south of Macau. More than 600 units were sold within two days in March at an average price of about HK$5,000 per square foot.
New supply also includes The Paragon being built by China Overseas Land and Investment in the Nape area. The project will provide 189 luxury units of about 880 to 2,200 sqft each.
In the secondary market, One Central Residences, developed by Hongkong Land and Shun Tak Holdings, is a prominent luxury project in the Nape area with units selling at about HK$8,000 per square foot.
The waterfront mixed-used project, combining residential, luxury retail, serviced apartments and a hotel managed by The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, is directly linked to MGM Grand Macau and near Wynn Macau and Grand Lisboa. It provides 796 units ranging from 654 to 3,006 sqft, including one- to four-bedroom apartments, and simplexes and penthouses.
Secondhand apartments of another luxury development, One Grantai, located near the Cotai Strip, are selling at about HK$7,000 per square foot. One Grantai features six residential towers, providing a total of 856 residential units.
One of the biggest new projects to come in the next few years will be a 1,147-unit development undertaken by Hong Kong developer Cheuk Nang (Holdings). The project is situated at Estrada de Seac Pai Van in Coloane. The HKC Group is building about 300 luxury homes on a 36,570-square-foot site situated at 83 Estrada de Cacilhas, Macau.