Sun Hung Kai Properties

SHKP trims luxuries at top end of town

City's biggest developer rethinks penthouses after new buyer's stamp duty dampens market's appetite for most extravagant features

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 December, 2012, 4:14am

Sun Hung Kai Properties, Hong Kong's largest developer, will cut the number of "super luxury" features in its new projects as cashed-up buyers retreat following the introduction of the anti-speculation tax in late October.

SHKP said it would also slow the acquisition of old properties for redevelopment, a move that could affect the supply of new flats on the market.

"Project planning [for new developments] will have to shift with the change in government policy. Previously, we had mega-size penthouses with large terraces, private pools and gardens. We will reduce these extravagant features as demand for such rare products has weakened," SHKP deputy managing director Victor Lui Ting said.

SHKP is the first developer to unveil a strategy shift since the government launched a 15 per cent buyer's stamp duty for corporate buyers and non-permanent residents on October 27. Mainland buyers accounted for nearly 40 per cent of sales of new luxury homes before the tax.

Lui said the tax had caused nearly 90 per cent of non-permanent and corporate buyers to leave the market.

The Wings phase two development in Tseung Kwan O, to be offered for sale from next week at about HK$15,000 per square foot, will be among the first with fewer luxury features.

Andy Chan, assistant general manager of Sun Hung Kai Real Estate Agency, said the three phase two penthouse units would be around 1,700 square feet with a jacuzzi. That compares with the four super deluxe penthouse units, each more than 2,600 sq ft, with a private pool featured in phase one.

"Prices for the upcoming sale of penthouses at phase two will be more affordable," Chan said.

He did not reveal the asking price but said a 2,560 sq ft penthouse plus a private pool in phase one sold for a record HK$52 million, or HK$21,000 per square foot, in November last year.

With sales of luxury homes plunging by nearly 80 per cent, Lui said the developer would hold back the sale of its super deluxe penthouse at The Cullinan at Kowloon Station, which was pitched at more than HK$300 million, or HK$70,000 per square foot.

But SHKP has no plan to cut prices, saying a local buyer had just paid HK$200 million for a house at its luxury project at 9 Shouson Hill Road.

Lui forecasts property transaction volume to drop by as much as 10 per cent next year. He expects property sales for the year to July 2013 will be less than the record HK$38 billion it achieved in the previous financial year.

According to Legco papers seen by the South China Morning Post some buyers who are non-permanent residents will be exempt from the tax. The exemptions will apply to residents forced to leave their properties and buy a new flat due to redevelopment by the Urban Renewal Authority, government land resumption and compulsory sale.

If the property replaced is jointly owned by two or more people, each person can make one replacement purchase.

Separately, the value of Hong Kong mortgage loans taken out last month increased by 11.2 per cent to HK$21.2 billion from October, according to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.

Additional reporting by Olga Wong