Developer bets on strong demand amid higher mortgage cap Henderson Land Development will be the most aggressive developer in sales terms should its plan to release 8,000 residential units for pre-sale this year become a reality. The developer's target was almost 80 per cent more than Sun Hung Kai Properties' aim of realising $18 billion from the pre-sale of 4,500 units this year. The two heavyweights' property sale programmes were unveiled a day after leading banks for the first time in four years increased their best lending rates by 12.5 basis points to 5.125 per cent. Chairman Lee Shau-kee's optimism came after the boost given to home buyers by the Hong Kong Mortgage Corp's offer of 95 per cent financing coupled with the low interest-rate environment. 'All these will help home owners to upgrade their residential units and investors to buy residential properties for rental income purposes. Under these conditions, overall demand for local properties will increase as a result and this will further lend support to an upward trend in property prices,' he said. Henderson Land said 12 projects being planned for pre-sale included the luxury residential development, Beverley Hills in Tai Po and the remaining units at the Grand Promenade in Sai Wan Ho. The developer has sold more than 1,000 flats in the 2,020-unit Grand Promenade since last month. The 12 projects comprise 8,000 units with about three million square foot and are expected to bring good returns as most were acquired at relatively low cost, the company said. In the year to June, Henderson Land had planned to release 4,600 units for pre-sale. However, only 1,700 units valued at $3.59 billion were sold. Meanwhile, the firm said it had cleared a key obstacle for its redevelopment project at Yau Tong Bay. An approval from the Environmental Protection Department in respect of the granting of the land reclamation permit for the project had been received. The project was still subject to other approval procedures and the payment of a land modification premium before construction could begin, the group said. The redevelopment involves 38 residential blocks with a gross floor area of 9.7 million sq ft, of which about 1.72 million sqft would be attributable to the group. Yesterday, Henderson Land unveiled better than expected results with net profit jumping 51 per cent to $3.05 billion on turnover of $6.72 billion for the year to June. A final dividend of 55 cents was proposed. Subsidiary Henderson Investment reported a 17 per cent rise in net profit to $1.82 billion. A final dividend of 12 cents was proposed. Its 65.32 per cent-owned Henderson China Holdings has returned to the black with net profit of $16 million against a net loss of $399 million a year ago. A final dividend of three cents was proposed.