A studio flat at Mont Vert in Tai Po is the cheapest new home available for sale in Hong Kong, at HK$1.94 million, according to the price list released by Cheung Kong (Holdings) yesterday for the first batch of units at the project.
The flat has a saleable area of only 194 square feet, which works out to HK$10,031 per square foot. The smallest unit at the development, of just 177 sqft, is not included in the first batch.
Of the 260 units on offer, 43 are studio flats, 20 are two-bedroom units and 197 are three-bedroom units. They are priced at HK$8,961 to HK$11,162 per square foot, while the going rates for second-hand flats in the area are HK$8,310 to HK$10,334. However, most of those flats are more than 20 years old.
The Mont Vert studio flats released yesterday range from 194 to 195 sqft and are priced between HK$1.94 million and HK$2.1 million each. After discounts, which add up to as much as 15 per cent, the lowest price for a studio flat is HK$1.65 million.
"New flats selling for less than HK$2 million are almost impossible to find in Hong Kong," said Louis Chan Wing-kit, managing director of Centaline Property Agency's residential department.
The launch prices for Mont Vert were the lowest for a new project in Tai Po, industry observers said.
Justin Chiu Kwok-hung, an executive director at Cheung Kong, said he was told by property agents that prices at the project were about 30 per cent below transaction prices for other new flats in the area.
"The stunning low price is because of low land cost," he said. "The site was converted from farmland for residential use. We also secured lower construction cost as the contract was awarded several years ago."
Buyers who opt for any three-bedroom unit in Tower 6 would enjoy the right to buy an additional studio flat next door first.
"We offer more choices for our buyers and we have no plan to sell the large flats and the studio units as a bundle," Chiu said.
Buyers will get a 5 per cent discount and an extra 3.25 per cent reduction if payment is made in cash. A further 3 per cent discount is offered if the preliminary purchase agreement is signed by August 31. They will also be given a 3.75 per cent discount to offset the impact from the double stamp duty. The total discounts amount to 15 per cent.
Factoring in the discounts, an 843 sqft flat on the first floor of Tower 6 will cost HK$5.82 million, or HK$6,909 per square foot.
The units will be offered for official sale on July 26.
The Sales and First-hand Residential Properties Authority (SRPA) criticised Cheung Kong last night for demanding that prospective buyers sign a "no viewing agreement" to be eligible for balloting for the flats.
The SRPA said it considered the sales arrangement "a serious departure from the spirit of the ordinance which requires that vendors must make the residential property which a person intends to purchase available for viewing" before sale.
Cheung Kong defended its move, saying phase one of the development shared the same entrance as the construction site for phase two.
"Phase two has not secured an occupation permit, unlike phase one, and construction work is still going on inside the site," it said. "Due to consideration of the safety of prospective buyers, it is not practical to open the project for public viewing."
It said shuttle buses between the show flats in Hung Hom and the Tai Po site would be arranged so that prospective buyers could view the project's surroundings.