Ailing founder of New World stable, says Lee Shau-kee

Henderson Land chief also says that the housing boom will be over as more units hit the market

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 October, 2012, 4:03am

Henderson Land Development chairman Lee Shau-kee said his ageing peer Cheng Yu-tung's condition is stable.

"(Cheng) is good," he said.

Cheng, the founder of New World Development, was admitted to hospital last month, just six months after he retired as chairman and executive director of New World Development. He remains there.

"I hope he can get well soon," said Lee, adding that Cheng needed to rest and this was not a good time to visit him.

Lee spoke at a reception celebrating the 150th anniversary of Hong Kong and China Gas, a subsidiary of Henderson Land Development.

Lee said the housing boom in Hong Kong is likely to be over. "In the next two years, (the housing market) will perform as more or less the same," he said in reference to the non-luxury housing sector.

The recent surge in home prices was triggered by limited supply, he said. About 10,000 units came on the market every year for the past few years but this would increase to 20,000 units next year, or 30,000 the year after, he said.

This will slow the price growth but he did not think there will be a big correction either, because costs would have also risen.

Instead of buying property, Lee suggested investors should buy Hong Kong property stocks, saying that they are now trading at a 60 per cent discount to their net asset value.

On the government's plans to develop the northeast New Territories, Lee said Henderson Land had acquired a lot of land there.

He said the government should allow developers who had a land bank there to develop the sites themselves.

If the government decided to "buy out our land, we will oppose it. Such a battle will take a few years and it will delay development", he said.


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