China property

Residential market seen booming as buyers make a beeline for the Big Bay

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 July, 2017, 12:33pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 July, 2017, 7:53pm

The growth of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area will attract more people to move there than anywhere else in China with the result that housing is set to become one of the biggest gainers, industry analysts said.

The development of the Bay Area – which covers 11 cities in southern China’s Guangdong province and its neighbours Hong Kong and Macau with a total population of 66 million – was elevated into a national strategy for the government by Premier Li Keqiang in March to create a world-class metropolitan cluster on par with Tokyo Bay and San Francisco Bay.

With the prospects of strong economic growth and continuous transport network improvements, the hub will no doubt become “the top destination” for skilled workers, said Edward Cheung, the Greater China chief executive at Cushman & Wakefield.

“The ‘one-hour living cycle’ will no longer just be planning jargon, but something which will positively change the way people in Hong Kong, Macau and the nine Guangdong cities work, shop and live.”

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Two mega bridges linking Hong Kong with Zhuhai and Macau, as well as Shenzhen with Zhongshan, are scheduled for completion this year and in 2024 respectively.

In the Bay Area (粵港澳大灣區), plans are also afoot to build a high-speed railway linking Guangzhou to Shenzhen and Hong Kong, as well as two new airports.

The residential market will be the biggest beneficiary thanks to the population influx, Cheung said. Cities like Foshan, Zhaoqing and Jiangmen in west Guangdong could see the fastest growth as their home prices, averaging below 10,000 yuan per square metre, were undervalued, he said.

These cities will be “less than one hour” from Shenzhen in the next few years, from the two to three hours now, according to estimates by Cushman & Wakefield.

“More people will opt to work in Shenzhen but live in other cities, while many financial firms may move their back offices to smaller cities nearby,” Cheung said, adding that the easy commute would also motivate more Hong Kong people to live in Guangdong.

John Siu, managing director of Cushman & Wakefield Hong Kong, was optimistic about the property market in Hengqin (橫琴) Island, which faces Macau.

Siu said Hengqin’s population was expected to exceed 280,000 by 2020 from 6,000 in 2016 as the island, together with Macau, will form an international gaming and tourism hub under the Big Bay. He also noted that flat prices in Hengqin were only a third of Macau’s.