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Juanito Concepcion
Juanito Concepcion

Property buyers and end-users in Hong Kong stand to get more "bang for their buck" if a proposed global property measurement standard is implemented, a valuation expert says.

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While the level of activity may not return to pre-control levels any time soon, there is now a positive outlook for the medium term, underpinned by rising wealth in the city amid expectations of further expansion of its economy, analysts say.

"Serviced apartment, not a hotel." That, recalled Joseph Bautista, was his wife's response when he asked about her choice of accommodation in Hong Kong during their planned one-month business trip to the city.

Hong Kong developers might join the bandwagon, especially because the pound had already fallen 35 per cent against the Hong Kong dollar, said Mark Griffiths, managing director of luxury residential developer St George.

The preservation of historic buildings is gaining momentum in Chengdu and other parts of the mainland - a phenomenon that will boost the value and attraction of new property developments in those areas, says a senior executive of a Beijing-based architectural firm.

UA Cinema Circuit is reopening on the 12th floor of Times Square in Causeway Bay, having failed to secure the renewal of its lease on lower-floor premises with a street-level entrance; and at the IFC mall in Central, Palace IFC cinema and restaurants had little choice but to downsize or be edged out by luxury goods retailers after rents were raised by up to 40 per cent as leases came up for renewal.

"We get people from all walks of life who come to us because of their desire for bigger living spaces and storage," says Wilson Lee, director of Wall Studio, an architectural design and interior decoration firm.

"The luxury housing rental market started to soften in April and May. Demand is weak during this year's traditional high season for leasing to expatriates, which started in May," said Koh Keng-shing, founder of property consultancy Landscope Christie's International Real Estate.

Disheartened by tight government controls in their domestic housing markets, investors from China, including Hong Kong, are looking overseas for alternatives. Among their targets is the Philippines, which posted one of Asia's highest economic growth rates last year.

When the lease on the 600-square-foot shop at 35 Yiu Wa Street, two blocks from the Times Square commercial-office complex, came up for renewal recently, Jennifer Cheung was shocked by the size of the increase.