Public land auction a test of confidence
By KENNETH KO
THE sale of a Yuen Long residential site at a public auction tomorrow is expected to fetch as much as $490 million, and will serve as the latest gauge of developers' confidence.
The other piece of Crown land going under the hammer is a 67,189 sq ft site in Kwai Chung designated for godown and public vehicle parking purposes.
Analysts predicted the lot to sell for about $300 million to $350 million.
The 90,751 sq ft Yuen Long site, in Town Park Road North, is to be the central focus and bidding is expected to be more exciting.
But negative market sentiment, aggravated by possible further interest rate rises and last week's stock market slumps, might affect developers' determination to bid, analysts said.
They said developers were unwilling to pay high costs to acquire land because many of them had been forced to cut the selling prices of their residential projects in recent months to attract buyers.
The latest round in price reductions was Henderson Land Development Co's decision to cut by 16 per cent the asking price of its Sunshine City project to about $4,100 a square foot.
Conservative analysts forecast the Yuen Long site would sell for about $350 million, representing an accommodation value of $1,285 a square foot.
At a government auction in May, a consortium of 14 developers paid $510 million, or an accommodation value of about $1,350 a square foot, for a residential site at Fung Kam Street in Yuen Long.
But some analysts said the two sites, although in the Yuen Long area, could not be directly compared because the Fung Kam Street site was for high-rise small-to medium-sized residential development.
The current Yuen Long site on offer is for mid-rise development with a limit of 12 storeys, and the size of units is to be no less than 1,184 sq ft.
It is stipulated that each unit has to be attached with no less than one car parking space.
William Wong, partner of Brooke Hillier Parker, put a price tag of $490 million on the Yuen Long site, representing an accommodation value of $1,800 a square foot.
The site will provide a potential floor area of about 272,251 sq ft.