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No holiday for property agents as flats snapped up

Demand for new units unaffected by measures to curb prices, with the launch of Residence 88 proving a big draw for optimistic buyers

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 February, 2013, 5:05am
 

It was a good start to the Year of the Snake for Hong Kong's property market, with strong sales of new homes during the Lunar New Year holiday despite recent cooling measures.

Sun Hung Kai Properties, which launched Residence 88 in Yuen Long yesterday, said the project attracted a keen response. The developer expected about 100 flats to be sold by the end of the night.

New World Development said that since Saturday it had sold 33 units at The Reach, co-developed by Henderson Land Development in Yuen Long, and seven new flats at The Riverpark in Sha Tin.

Demand appeared unaffected by government measures, such was a special buyer's stamp duty imposed in October.

"We see strong buying sentiment and some clients cancelled their travel plans to stay in town during the holiday so they would not miss the launches of new flats," said Sammy Po Siu-ming, a director at Midland Realty.

We see strong buying sentiment and some clients cancelled their travel plans to stay in town during the holiday so they would not miss the launches of new flats

Compared with the previous Lunar New Year, when no new projects were released, this year's holiday was a busy one for agents.

"Buyers are upbeat about the outlook for the property market as they have already digested the news about the government's housing measures and don't think there will be any effective policies in the future," Po said.

The first batch of 88 flats at Residence 88 were offered at an average of HK$8,008 per square foot based on gross floor area (GFA). Sized between 571 sq ft and 1,186 sq ft, they were priced from HK$4.58 million to HK$10.95 million. The project has two towers with 352 units.

Alan Lam, a businessman who often has to travel between Hong Kong and the mainland, was planning to spend about HK$7 million on a three-bedroom unit at Residence 88 for his family.

"There's always demand for homes in Hong Kong so it doesn't really matter when you enter the market," Lam said. "Now everything is expensive, as labour costs and construction cost have risen."

He said the price of HK$8,008 per sq ft was reasonable.

Another local buyer, a Ms Chan, said she wanted to spend HK$8 million to move into a bigger flat in Yuen Long.

"I'm not worried about more measures from the government as prices keep rising," she said.

"No matter what kind of stamp duty is imposed in the future, it will have no impact on the property market."

The secondary market, in contrast, was quiet during the festive season.

There were only 19 sales at the 10 largest private housing estates tracked by Ricacorp Properties during the five days from Saturday, compared with 31 during the previous weekend.

Ricacorp chief executive Willy Liu Wai-keung said many flat owners and seekers went away for the holidays and some buyers wanted new homes, so there were relatively few transactions in the second-hand market.

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