Hong Kong stamp duty
To rein in the city's runaway housing prices, Hong Kong's Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah announced an additional 15 per cent stamp duty on non-permanent-resident and corporate buyers starting from October 27, 2012. The move prompted speculation over the effectiveness of taxation on the real estate market and criticisms that Hong Kong was turning away from its roots as a free market economy in favour of a more protectionist market environment.
Buyers rush to avoid new property taxes at midnight
Peggy Sito and Paggie Leung
A developer last night brought forward the sale of flats to beat the introduction at midnight of the latest round of government cooling measures that were announced on Friday.
Sun Hung Kai Properties last night put up for sale 92 units at Wings II in Tseung Kwan O at an average of HK$8,957 per square foot of gross floor area, or HK$11,367 per square foot of saleable area. The developer originally planned to sell the units today.
The change in sales strategy came shortly after the government announced its new cooling measures on Friday afternoon.
At 5.15pm, Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah announced stamp duty rates for property purchases would be raised from Saturday.
"Almost all units were sold," Ken Lee, a senior sales manager at Centaline Property Agency, said of the Wings II flats.
Lee expected all 92 units to be sold before new measures become effective today.
Chinese Estates last night started the sale of units in its shopping mall, Causeway Place, in Causeway Bay, with a price range between HK$15 million and HK$20 million. Agents said the sales response had been good.
Henderson Land Development said its sales offices would remain open until midnight.
However, sales of Sino Land's residential project Avery in Kowloon City slowed after the new measures were announced.
Sino Land said it sold 20 units of the 78-unit development in the first hour of the sale, which started at 11am on Friday. But by 8.30pm, it had only sold an additional 10 units.
"Sales slowed down after the government announced measures," said Paul Fan, a sales manager at Centaline Property Agency's Kowloon branch.
The building, at 16 Hau Wong Road, will have 78 flats on 24 storeys. The average price of the Avery flats on offer is HK$18,266 per square foot of saleable area.
Victor Tin Sio-un, an associate director of Sino Land, said: "The sales office will open until midnight."
Sammy Po Siu-ming, a director at Midland Realty, said less than 10 per cent of owners had lowered their asking prices by about 2 to 3 per cent in order to get their flats sold quickly.