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  • Nov 19, 2014
  • Updated: 5:35pm
NewsHong Kong

Single block flats priced by saleable area more expensive than Peak homes

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 January, 2013, 11:08am

Some mass-market flats in single blocks are more expensive per square foot than properties in Repulse Bay and The Peak when their price is calculated according to the saleable floor area.

In May, the Estate Agents Authority ordered agents to state the saleable area in all promotional material for second-hand homes from today to increase transparency in the market.

For years, developers and agents have sold homes according to gross floor area, for which there is no clear definition and which can include a unit's share of communal areas such as public corridors, lobbies and staircases.

Now agents advertising second-hand flats must give at least equal prominence to the display of their saleable area - the actual size of the home, including balconies but excluding common areas and bay windows.

But a discrepancy occurs when the efficiency rate of the property - the ratio of saleable area to gross floor area, expressed as a percentage - is taken into account.

Single pencil-like buildings have a lower efficiency rate than big housing developments because a larger area of common facilities - such as the walls, roof, corridors and lifts - is shared by a small number of individual owners.

One agent, who did not want to be named, said: "Buyers will know a large part of the purchase price actually covers a lot of non-living space.

"They will feel uncomfortable paying HK$4 million for a flat whose net area is less than 200 square feet."

That will affect buyer sentiment to an extent, said Vincent Cheung Kiu-cho, national director for China at property consultant Cushman & Wakefield.

For example, a flat at the single-block development Queen's Cube in Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, was resold on October 24 for HK$9.8 million. This is equivalent to HK$16,955 per sq ft based on its gross floor area of 578 sq ft.

But the price increases to HK$25,995 per sq ft when calculated according to its saleable area, which is just 377 sq ft.

This is more expensive than a flat in Nicholson Tower on The Peak, which was resold in September for HK$38.5 million, or HK$23,504 per saleable sq ft.

That flat has a saleable area of 1,638 sq ft, against its gross floor area of 1,993 sq ft.

In Hung Hom, a flat in the Met.Focus sold for HK$3.79 million, or HK$12,718 per sq ft under the gross floor area calculation. But its net area is just 195 sq ft, against a gross floor area of 298 sq ft, so the transaction price is HK$19,436 per saleable sq ft.

This is pricier than the HK$19,357 per sq ft of saleable area for a flat in South Bay Tower, Repulse Bay.

Ringo Lam Chun-chiu, valuation director of surveyors' firm AG Wilkinson & Associates, said: "This is the purpose of the change in government policy. The government wants to increase transparency in the property market." According to Midland Realty, second-hand prices calculated by saleable area averaged HK$8,560 per sq ft by yesterday, a year-on-year rise of 21.3 per cent.

The average price per sq ft of gross floor area was HK$6,848.


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When I pointed out this new regulation to the corporate property entity that owns my flat and several others in the building, the flunky just scoffed and said, "That only applies to property agents, I can say whatever number I want." The more things change, the more they stay the same.
@"They will feel uncomfortable paying HK$4 million for a flat whose net area is less than 200 square feet."
They rightly should!
These small flats are simply not worth this sort of money and its time for reality in the Hong Kong property market.
Well, in the consumer industry we call it the "deceptive packaging". You buy a chocolate box, big and spacious but inside there are only a handful chocolate pralines. But when you bought the big box, your conscious is telling you that you bought something big for your money because of the "deceptive packaging". That is how the developers and Agents cheated us for long time. Selling flats with indication of gross sizes including the broom storage of the cleaning lady from clubhouse, you acually can not use for living. A long overdue regulation. Now maybe some developers will think about building and constructing bigger and spacier apartments as now, who is going to pay 7-8 Million for just 400 sqm in a mid class area.
I think you meant to type 400 sq ft , not sqm!
Agree with you 100% HK-Lover! The use of actual area is long overdue. This just shows the collusion between developers and the colonial government which allowed this practice of using inflated gross floor area to rip off citizens of more money for their living space. Sure hope your suggestion of providing detailed drawings and actual measurements of all flats be made mandatory! Pan-Democrats, please take note, this is what we, Hong Kong citizens, elected you to do, fight for this kind of injustice!
It's difficult to compare house which are usually net sized to residence where you share spaces.
Nevertheless it will bring for sure transparency to what you pay for.
When you talk to agent they always brag about this property is only say 10k per sq ft compare to another one just to sell quickly. But they always skip the efficiency rate which need to be compared.
This transparency was long overdue and will hopefully bring senses to the property market.
Next step is to make it mandatory to provide for new and 2nd hand property detailed layout drawings with accurate measurements of the saleable area. And property tycoons, agents etc. don't complain, it has always been done in other jurisdiction without any problem.


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