Buyers rush for Yuen Long flats to beat stamp duty
Clients rush to beat deadline before property cooling measures kick in
Yvonne Liu, Sandy Li and Amy Nip
Flats in a new development in Yuen Long went on sale ahead of schedule yesterday, immediately after the government announced a fresh round of property cooling measures, including new rules on reselling and a tax targeting non-local buyers.
Flats at The Reach, jointly developed by Henderson Land and New World Development, were originally scheduled to go on sale today, but with the new measures kicking in at midnight, the launch was swiftly brought forward.
By around 10pm, some 100 flats had been snapped up by both mainland and local buyers, said agents who quickly set up a sales office in Tsim Sha Tsui's Miramar Shopping Centre.
The office was abuzz as agents contacted their clients.
"Be quick, be quick … Where are you?" was the refrain as they tried to ensure prospective buyers beat the midnight deadline.
Buyers queued in the lift lobby before being rushed into elevators to proceed to the sales centre.
One prospective buyer said he had come from Shenzhen.
"I heard about the stamp duty so I came," he said, adding that he had yet to decide how much he would spend on the flat.
Hongkongers were also in the queue. A family of three was eyeing a two-room flat going for about HK$4 million.
The husband, who declined to be named, explained that he was not worried about government measures causing a slump in the market. "It's for us, so it doesn't matter whether property prices will rise or fall," he said.
One agent said: "Local buyers turned aggressive as they could escape from the new measures if they bought the flats tonight.
"There are not many new flats selling for around HK$3 million. They don't have many choices. Most of the buyers are end-users.
"I didn't see a lot of mainland buyers in a rush to buy flats from this project. It's probably because this is not a luxury development."
The agent added: "If the developer had launched the sales later, it would have lost at least 20 per cent of buyers [because of the cooling measures].
"But now because the sale was brought forward, they will lose only about 10 per cent."
The development in Shap Pat Heung Road comprises 2,580 flats in 12 towers.
The developer released 608 flats for sale yesterday, at an average price of HK$7,233 per square foot.
Developers of other projects, including New World Development's The Riverpark in Sha Tin and Sino Land's Providence Bay in Tai Po, also put flats in their developments on sale yesterday.
THE NEW COOLING MEASURES
A 15 per cent Buyer’s Stamp Duty charged to all homebuyers except those with Hong Kong permanent residency, and also covering local companies.
Period of restrictions on resale (for all buyers) extended from two to three years. Owners will have to pay a special stamp duty of 20 per cent of the flat’s price if they sell the property within six months of buying it; that drops to 15 per cent for owners selling in the following six months; and to 10 per cent if they sell after owning the property between one and three years.