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Hong Kong developers jump on MTR’s Ho Man Tin land parcel, undeterred by city’s stamp duty

Land plot atop the Ho Man Tin MTR station could be valued at up to HK$11 billion

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 November, 2016, 2:58pm
UPDATED : Monday, 21 November, 2016, 9:36pm

Hong Kong’s developers, undeterred by the government’s recent move to double the stamp duty on second-home buyers, have expressed strong interest in MTR Corp’s parcel of land atop its Ho Man Tin station, the first time such a plot had been put on the market for sale along the rail operator’s network this financial year.

Expressions of interest were received from 28 developers, MTR said.

The land, which can accommodate between 800 and as many as 1,000 apartment units totalling 742,716 square feet when it’s fully built up by 2022 or 2023, is valued at between HK$8.9 billion and HK$11 billion, or HK$12,000 to HK$16,000 per square foot.

Developers are desperate to get their hands on land parcels in Hong Kong, even as the government doubled the amount of stamp duty on November 5 to dampen runaway prices and cool the market. Sites with completely build-up amenities and public transportation are particularly sought after, agents said.

“The feedback indicate that developers’ appetite for land hasn’t been affected by the government’s rising stamp duty,” said Thomas Lam, senior director at Knight Frank.

Hong Kong developers could outbid developers from mainland China, because local property companies understand MTR better, and have more experience working and cooperating with the subway operator, Lam said.

The project has attracted interest from Sun Hung Kai Properties, Henderson Land Development, Cheung Kong Property, Sino Land, Wheelock & Co, Vanke Property (Overseas), China Overseas Land & Investment , Logan Property Holdings, Nan Fung Development, Far East Consortium International, Chuang’s Consortium International, Asia Standard International Group, Swire Properties and Emperor International before the tender closed at 2pm. The railway operator will offer the tender soon.

“With rare supply in urban areas and atop MTR stations, developers big or small will express their interest in the initial round” of bidding, said Vincent Cheung, the executive director of valuation and advisory services for Asia at Colliers International.

If MTR’s land sells at the top end of the valuation, it would make the site one of the most expensive lump sums ever paid in Hong Kong. In 2013, another parcel of land in the vicinity sold for HK$11.69 billion.

At those lofty prices, an apartment unit will be likely to sell for HK$24,000 per square foot when it comes up for pre-sales promotions, Lam said.

To attract buyers, developers are offering discounts and incentives.

Sun Hung Kai Properties launched its Ultima Phase Two development in Ho Man Tin, located opposite the MTR station, at a discounted price of between HK$16,316 and HK$48,834 per square foot, with the apartments ranging in size from 1,221 sq ft to 2,019 sq ft, for a total price of as much as HK$20.5 million.

CK Property and Wing Tai Properties said they would foot the bill for buyers liable to pay 15 per cent stamp duty for their Zumurud development and Homantin Hillside last week.

The Ho Man Tin project is one of the two land-disposal programmes announced by Hong Kong’s Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po for the third quarter ended December. The other project is atop the Wong Chuk Hang MTR station.

The two projects will add 1,800 apartment units to Hong Kong’s housing supply.