Move to tap HK's affluent investors with launch of shops, luxury units An offering of mainland luxury apartments and prime retail shops, valued at 15 billion yuan (HK$14.19 billion), will be launched in Hong Kong in a bid to attract affluent buyers. Landlords of mainland properties are hoping that the improved economic outlook in the city will revive Hong Kong investors' buying interest in Chinese cities such as Shanghai and Beijing. A total of 10 residential projects, comprising 13,000 apartments and 2,000 shops located in Shanghai, Beijing and Chongqing, will be offered to Hong Kong buyers when the exhibition launches next month, according to Fortune International Estate Agency, which arranged the sale. James Tin Kwok-keung, chief executive of Fortune International, a Hong Kong subsidiary of mainland-based Shanghai Real Estate Consultant & Sales Co, said prices ranged from 400,000 yuan to several million yuan. 'We are catering to Hong Kong investors as they are a major overseas buying force for luxury apartments in Shanghai and Beijing,' Mr Tin said. He estimated Hong Kong people had taken up about 8,000 residential units in Shanghai in the past 10 years. But Hong Kong's buying interest had been undermined by the severe property slump and depressed economy in the past several years, Mr Tin said. 'Now, we feel it is the time to target Hong Kong market again in view of an improving investment sentiment.' Mr Tin said Shanghai's home prices had soared about 40 per cent this year since the last property crash eight years ago. The latest Morgan Stanley report said investment in the Shanghai residential market jumped 17 per cent to 40.7 billion yuan for the first seven months this year against 55.6 billion yuan for the whole of last year. Property sales had risen 35 per cent to 37.3 billion yuan as of July after reaching a five-year high of 73.3 billion yuan last year, according to the brokerage house. 'Shanghai's real estate is running hot, with buyers snapping up everything in sight. Retail shops and apartments are the most popular purchases,' said Mr Tin. This month, a domestic developer offering 500 retail shops in Shanghai's top shopping street, Huai Hai Road, had to call in security to regain control after a buyers' frenzy, he said. A day before buyers could register their interest to purchase, about 600 people had queued outside the sales office, Mr Tin said. The shops, in the Liulin Commercial Building, had sold for about 10,000 yuan per square foot through Fortune International. Similar incidents have been reported at other developments. At luxury residential project Noble Castle of Shanghai, in Nanjing Road, there is a long waiting list of buyers ready to purchase when units go on sale, he said. Mr Tin said about 100 apartments at Noble Castle of Shanghai would be offered to Hong Kong buyers for 14,000 per square metre. 'This project is probably the most expensive,' he said. He said Hong Kong businessmen were also interested in investing in prime retail shops in Shanghai and Beijing. The agency would offer 2,000 outlets in two shopping malls with an average price of one million yuan each. Sweeteners, such as a guaranteed rate of investment returns, would be offered to attract buyers, Mr Tin said. Properties will be featured in a three-day exhibition from November 21.