Those waiting for the right moment to buy property in Hong Kong were sent mixed signals yesterday.
Sun Hung Kai Properties won a luxury residential site at Kau To Shan in Sha Tin, paying a higher-than-expected HK$1.42 billion.
It's a sign the appetite of big developers for high-end sites has not been curbed by the government's market-cooling measures.
But this came as Cheung Kong announced an 11.8 per cent price cut for the remaining six houses at Uptown in Yuen Long, a day after chairman Li Ka-shing said land prices in Hong Kong would remain high and home prices would stabilise.
SHKP outbid 13 other developers for the 86,973 square foot land parcel at an average price of HK$10,885 per sq ft - the highest among five residential sites in that area and up to 14.6 per cent higher than surveyors' estimates - based on the maximum gross floor area of 130,460 sq ft.
The company also won a harbourfront hotel site in North Point for HK$2.72 billion, within market expectations. The 57,792 sq ft site could provide a total gross floor area of 387,504 sq ft.
"We're very happy to have won the sites," SHKP deputy managing director Victor Lui Ting said. "The Kau To Shan site is a prime one. We love the environment, as the area has low density and the site offers a full sea view. It also has a wide frontage, which makes it easy to design the project. And the North Point hotel site is a rare waterfront site on Hong Kong Island."
Lui said the company would invest HK$3 billion in the residential project, while the hotel project would involve about HK$5.5 billion.
Midland Surveyors director Alvin Lam Tsz-pun said the land sales showed "developers are confident about properties in traditional luxury areas and are thirsty for rare and quality land lots".
Cheung Kong executive director Justin Chiu Kwok-hung said the average price of the six houses at Uptown had been reduced to HK$6,700 per sq ft of gross floor area from HK$7,600 per sq ft. It is the second Cheung Kong development in a month to have prices reduced.
The price cut came just before SHKP's planned release this week of Riva, its own low-density project in Yuen Long, at an average price of HK$12,747 per sq ft.
The Uptown houses, each with a gross area of 2,154 sq ft, are on sale for HK$16.42 million to HK$16.75 million each.
Meanwhile, the number of mortgage applications last month fell 24.5 per cent from January to 9,013, Hong Kong Monetary Authority figures show.
Mortgage loans drawn down during February fell 23 per cent to HK$12.2 billion, and loans approved fell 12.3 per cent to HK$18.6 billion. Of these, the value of loans issued to buy new homes dropped 8.4 per cent to HK$3 billion, while those for purchases in the secondary market declined by 11.8 per cent, to HK$12.9 billion.