Developers rush to sell flats before new curbs start
Yvonne Liu and Peggy Sito
As home sales start showing signs of losing steam, developers are rushing to launch projects before a law takes effect at the end of this month which is expected to curb new flat sales.
Sun Hung Kai Properties has started a soft launch of its Riva development in Yuen Long that offers about 780 units, with 25 blocks of low-density luxury apartments and 48 riverside garden houses.
Small developers ITC Properties Group and Couture Homes, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed CSI Properties, on Monday announced the prices for the first batch of 30 units at Yoo Residence in Causeway Bay. The flats have been set at HK$22,233 per square foot in gross floor area terms, or HK$31,392 per square foot of saleable area.
The developers on Tuesday announced the price of the penthouse unit at HK$30,906 per square foot in terms of gross floor area, or HK$42,437 per square foot of saleable area.
Meanwhile, Glory Million Investment is launching its 14-unit single-block development at Eugene Terrace in Kowloon - with a price of HK$18,000 per square foot.
Agents said Swire Properties is preparing the sale of units at Dunbar Place in Ho Man Tin.
Developers are also offering sweeteners to clear out the remaining flats at existing projects. Wheelock Properties has announced that buyers of the remaining flats at Kadoorie Hill in Ho Man Tin and Lexington Hill in Kennedy Town will get parking spaces at half price.
Property agents said some developers have even increased commission from 2.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent in a bid to clear unsold flats.
The sales push comes as the secondary market shows signs of slowing down and a new law aimed at shielding buyers from dishonest practices, scheduled to take effect on April 29, nears.
According to Midland Realty, 24 flats were sold at 10 major housing estates during the Easter holidays from March 29 to April 1 - a 61 per cent drop from the previous Easter season.
With transaction volumes low, agents said some individual owners have cut asking prices by up to 10 per cent and are willing to sell below prevailing rates.
Sammy Po Siu-ming, a director at Midland Realty in the New Territories, said: "It takes time for developers, agents and buyers to get used to a new rule. If the projects are ready for launch, developers won't want to sit on them.
"They are also in a rush to sell the remaining flats at the existing projects. Some only have a handful of flats left. If they sell the flats after the new rule takes effect, they will have to publish new sales brochures only for those flats," said Po.