Buyers snapped up about 460 luxury flats as sales of four new developments were held yesterday. Experts said the easing of cooling measures had released pent-up demand.
The release saw a total of 642 flats put on sale at Grand Austin in Tsim Sha Tsui, Mayfair by the Sea in Tai Po, City Point in Tsuen Wan and The Long Beach in Tai Kok Tsui. By 7pm, 464 flats had sold. Agents said the number of investors buying properties was well up on last year.
Economist Andy Kwan Cheuk-chiu said the government's decision to relax rules that forced buyers of second homes to pay double stamp duty had boosted sales of new and second-hand properties.
All but five of the 209 flats on offer at Grand Austin were sold for between HK$12.59 million and HK$41 million, generating more than HK$3.75 billion for New World and Wheelock Properties.
"About 40 per cent of our clients bought the flats at Grand Austin for investment, while the remainder were for self-use. About 10 per cent are mainlanders," said Midland Realty chief executive Sammy Po Siu-ming.
He said 20 per cent of clients at Mayfair were investors, while just 10 per cent of buyers of new flats last summer were investors.
"Since Grand Austin is located close to Austin and Kowloon MTR stations, investors are optimistic on the leasing market," he said. "They saw that prices didn't drop significantly under the cooling measures and that property is still able to offer a good return. It attracted investors back to the market."
Ricky Wong Kwong-yiu, of Wheelock Properties, said the developers planned to release more of Grand Austin's 691 flats earlier because of the strong sales.
Mayfair developer Sino Group released 220 flats at an average price of HK$14,300 per sq ft. It said 186 had been sold by 7pm.
Kwan, a government adviser on housing policy, said the decision to exempt from the double stamp duty buyers who had sold their previous home within six months was boosting the market.
"Buyers no longer worry about the cooling measures because they saw that property prices did not drop significantly under the cooling measures," he said. "The government's move has released the pent-up housing demand."