A luxury residential site up for tender in Ho Man Tin that had a price tag of more than HK$11 billion put on it by land surveyors attracted six bids before the tender closed yesterday.
The strong response came despite the latest government measures to cool the property market. Three or four bids had earlier been expected for the site.
"I can't draw a conclusion that developers are optimistic about the market outlook. But at least they are not pessimistic," surveyor Albert So Chun-hin said.
"They may not expect the property price to go up further. However, backed by strong housing demand, they believe the fall in property prices will be limited unless a global financial crisis arises again."
Surveyors said the site was worth between HK$11 billion and HK$14.85 billion, or HK$9,631 to HK$13,000 per square foot.
A spokesman for the government said the site received six bids.
A separate tender for a commercial site in Tung Chung attracted nine bidders.
Property heavyweights that submitted bids for the Ho Man Tin site included Sun Hung Kai Properties, Cheung Kong, Henderson Land Development, Sino Land, Kerry Properties and Wheelock Properties.
Alvin Lam, a director at Midland Surveyors, said the response showed developers had confidence in the market outlook and were particularly interested in luxury residential sites.
"The site is located in a prime luxury residential area where land supply is rare," Lam said. "However, the investment cost would be higher as the development scale is big. It would become a competition between large developers."
However, he said bids would be tempered by the new government measures to rein in property price growth and he expected the site to sell for about HK$11 billion.
The cooling measures include a doubling of stamp duties on the sale of residential and non-residential properties valued at more than HK$2 million.
The government released the Ho Man Tin and Tung Chung sites for tender in January.
The 259,165 sq ft site in Ho Man Tin is at the junction of Sheung Lok and Sheung Shing streets, adjacent to the Ho Man Tin (South) Estate. It allows a project of up to a height of 120 metres and a gross floor area of 1.14 million square feet.
The commercial site in Tung Chung attracted nine bidders including Sino Land, Cheung Kong, Wheelock Properties, a consortium of Paliburg and Regal Hotels International, and Dorsett Hospitality.
There were also bids from a consortium formed by Swire Properties, Sun Hung Kai Properties, New World Development, Henderson Land and Hang Lung Properties, which developed the nearby Citygate project.
So said the developers were interested in the site because of the success of the Citygate shopping centre.
"It attracts high shopper visits during the holidays," he said.
Vincent Cheung Kiu-cho, a national director of greater China at valuers Cushman & Wakefield, said the site was worth HK$1.08 billion, or HK$2,000 per square foot.
"That is not a large land price, which is why more developers joined the bidding," he said.
The site is 107,920 sq ft. The winning bidder can build a development 70 metres high with a gross floor area of 539,599 sq ft.