Sino Land

Sino Land sales and land buys to be unaffected by cooling measures

Sales of new projects and land acquisitions to continue despite increases in stamp duties

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 November, 2012, 4:48am

Sino Land chairman Robert Ng Chee Siong said yesterday the company would continue to buy development sites despite government measures to cool the property market.

The measures "won't affect our sales schedule of new projects", he said at the firm's annual general meeting.

"We will also continue to acquire development sites. We are interested in tendering for the two sites in Tseung Kwan O and Ma On Shan."

Tendering for the sites will close tomorrow. Property analysts have lowered their valuations for the sites by about 10 per cent since the new measures - involving increases in stamp duty on certain transactions - were announced.

Alvin Lam, a director at Midland Surveyors, expects the sites to be worth HK$2.36 billion and HK$2.02 billion, respectively, as developers start to bid more conservatively.

Sino Land executive director Daryl Ng Win-kong said: "We saw that property sales dropped last Saturday and Sunday. It showed potential buyers were digesting the news of the cooling measures. We will continue to monitor the market. It's too early to tell the impact."

In Singapore, property sales reverted to their previous levels three to four months after the government imposed a stamp duty on foreign buyers.

"It is true that the impact in the property market was limited. But it is too early to say it will be the same in Hong Kong," Robert Ng said.

Sino Land has already met its sales target for the year. Company secretary Velencia Lee said Sino Land had booked HK$7 billion from property sales this year and HK$10 billion could be booked in the next few years.

Robert Ng said one or two developers planned to raise the commission for property agents to boost property sales.

"We may consider raising commission later," he added.

Meanwhile, Henderson Land Development spent HK$239 million yesterday to acquire ownership of all the units in two old buildings at 196-202 Ma Tau Wai Road in To Kwa Wan in a land auction triggered by the Land (Compulsory Sale for Redevelopment) Ordinance.

"The government-imposed buyer's stamp duty will affect our pace of acquiring old buildings for redevelopment. We will adopt a wait-and-see attitude," Henderson Land executive director Augustine Wong Ho-ming said after the auction.

"The government suggested a buyer could be exempted from the buyer's stamp duty if it is able to redevelop the building within" a certain period, he said.

"I think the government should be careful in setting the time period. Otherwise, it would affect the buyers. For example, it could take developers two years to handle the construction work on foundation and slope."