The Wings attracts soaring local buyer interest

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 31 October, 2011, 12:00am

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More than 70 per cent of the 50 flats offered for sale at Sun Hung Kai's The Wings development in Tseung Kwan O were sold at the weekend, including a two-storey penthouse that fetched HK$20,000 per square foot - a new sales record for the area.

The good market response put prices at The Wings on a par with luxury developments in West Kowloon and defied fears that a weakening local economy and a steep rise in the number of negative equity cases in the third quarter could put a dampener on demand.

Encouraged by the response, the developer will now put 15 of the remaining 1,028 flats on sale on Wednesday at prices of between HK$13,239 and HK$14,168 per square foot. Each unit has a saleable area of about 893 square foot.

The number of residential mortgages in negative equity - which means the outstanding loan is higher than the value of the property - jumped to 1,653 cases at the end of last month from 48 cases at the end of June. Most were related to mortgages with loan-to-value ratios of 90 per cent or above.

While wealthy mainlanders are seen as a major source of demand for Hong Kong luxury properties, only about 20 per cent of The Wings' buyers were mainlanders, according to the developer. The rest were locals who were looking to switch to bigger flats.

Wong Leung-sing, head of research of Centaline Surveyors, said many people underestimated the strength of local home buyers - especially those from Tseung Kwan O, where flat prices had long been suppressed by oversupply and the proximity to a rubbish dump.

'People remember the years when flat prices in Tseung Kwan O hovered at HK$2,000 per square foot. But now a decade has passed, prices of those flats have surged threefold, and most of these buyers have got older and probably earn more.'

Wong criticised the government's decision to build small flats at a prime site above the Nam Cheong MTR station. 'There are many cash-rich locals who are in genuine need of big flats. It is not just mainland speculators,' he said.

The Wings is an integrated development that includes two hotels, grade-A offices, and a shopping centre above Tseung Kwan O MTR station. Flats in the development were put on sale for an average price of HK$12,698 per square foot, which prices the smallest at HK$14 million.

The most expensive property - a 2,560 sq ft, two-storey flat on the 48th floor with rooftop, private pool and two car parking spaces was sold for HK$51.2 million to a mainland businessman.

One Mayfair - another luxury development in Kowloon Tong - also sold 22 flats over the weekend, including a 1,900 sq ft property with two gardens for HK$57 million that set a record for the district.