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Hong Kong stamp duty

Ho Man Tin site sale a litmus test of market outlook after new stamp duty

Ho Man Tin plot for luxury flats is first to be auctioned since buyer’s stamp duty came in, sending deals for top-end homes down 80pc

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 December, 2012, 4:37am

Tenders will open next month for a luxury residential site in Ho Man Tin, estimated to be worth more than HK$10 billion.

The response is expected to be an indicator of the outlook for the property sector after the imposition of a 15 per cent extra stamp duty on non-permanent-resident and corporate buyers.

Surveyors forecast the site, which could provide flats with a gross floor area of more than 1.14 million square feet, will receive bids of between HK$10.3 billion and HK$11.4 billion, or HK$9,000 to HK$10,000 per sq ft.

Located at the junction of Sheung Lok Street and Sheung Shing Street, it is one of two sites being sold by the Lands Department on January 25. The other block of land is a commercial site in Tung Chung.

"As the first sale of 2013, it is the focus of the market's attention," said Centaline Surveyors' director James Cheung King-tat.

He put a price of HK$10.3 billion on the site, saying developers would take into account the new tax before submitting bids.

Sales of luxury homes have dropped nearly 80 per cent since the government imposed the buyer's stamp duty of 15 per cent on October 27.

Midland Surveyors director Alvin Lam Tze-pun said the site might not attract much bidding because it would be so expensive.

"Only big players with a strong financial position can afford to participate in the tender."

Lam, who reckoned the site could fetch HK$11.4 billion, said the outcome of the auction would reflect developers' views about the outlook of the luxury residential market and the impact of the new stamp duty, which was intended to cool surging flat prices.

Despite sales of luxury homes plunging, he said he did not see any panic selling.

He expects the appetite of top developers for prime luxury residential sites to remain strong, due to scarcity.

Recent secondary market transaction prices for luxury homes in Ho Man Tin were HK$11,015 to HK$17,415 per sq ft, data from Centaline shows.

Big guns such as Cheung Kong, Sun Hung Kai Properties, Henderson Land Development, New World Development and Wheelock Properties would likely submit bids for the land, Lam said.

The site is surrounded by prestigious schools, which analysts said would increase its value.

The site in Tung Chung town which the Lands Department is auctioning will yield a development with total gross floor area of 539,599 sq ft. The successful bidder will be required to build a public transport terminus and government accommodation. An estimation of its value was not available.