Foreign fund bids against local developers for sites

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 January, 2013, 3:13am

Two residential sites put up for tender in Sha Tin and Sai Kung have drawn bids not only from local developers but also a foreign real estate fund, reflecting confidence in the industry's outlook despite government measures to cool the market.

The Lands Department said the two sites had generated 24 bids by the deadline yesterday.

Cheung Kong (Holdings), Sun Hung Kai Properties, Sino Land, New World Development, Wheelock Properties, Paliburg Holdings, K Wah International, a consortium formed by Wing Tai Properties and Manhattan Group, and a Southeast Asian fund, A & F Capital Management, submitted bids for the luxury residential site in Kau To Shan, Sha Tin.

The Sai Kung site attracted 14 bidders, including Cheung Kong, New World, K Wah, Sun Hung Kai Properties, Sino Land, Kerry Properties, Regal Hotels International, Emperor Group, Wing Tai Properties, Tai Cheung Properties and a partnership between Lai Sun Development and CSI Properties.

"The response is very encouraging," said Vincent Cheung, national director for Greater China at Cushman & Wakefield.

"It is worth noting that the [Sha Tin] site also attracted new entrants, like the foreign fund, which need to submit aggressive bids in order to beat their rivals."

Property consultants estimate that the 92,463 square feet site at Kau To Shan, intended for luxury homes, will fetch a bid of about HK$1.3 billion or about HK$9,000 per square foot, while the 166,089 sq ft site at Sha Kok Mei in Sai Kung could sell for about HK$1.2 billion, or about HK$4,500 per square foot.

Alan Lee, managing partner at A & F Capital Management, said the fund would focus on property development in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia, given that the US and European economies remained fragile.

"We have confidence for the next five years in the Asia-Pacific real estate market, and we are interested in any quality sites in Hong Kong put up for sale," he said.

In May last year, the fund lost its bid for a Repulse Bay residential site, he said. That site went for HK$1.668 billion to Tai Cheung Properties.

Investors in the US$1 billion A & F Capital Management fund largely come from Southeast Asia, Lee said.

Tai Cheung executive director Li Wing-sau said that the firm is interested in the Sai Kung site because it is close to the town centre.

"It is an ideal location for building houses," he said.

Li said the firm's bid took into account the impact of the new buyer's stamp duty.

"We remain optimistic about the market outlook and believe prices will increase steadily this year," he said.