Hong Kong conglomerate New World Development (NWD) is selling a grade A, 28-storey office building in the city’s first commercial property sale after it withdrew double stamp duty on non-residential property last month. The building at 888 Lai Chi Kok Road in West Kowloon will be completed in 2022 and is expected to have a gross floor area of 580,600 sq ft. It will be priced at HK$13,000 (US$1,677) to HK$14,500 per square foot, Centaline Commercial and Midland Commercial, the agents, said. The former is operated by Centaline Property Agency, and the latter is Midland Realty’s commercial arm. NWD won the land for HK$4.03 billion in 2017. “The price has been set at an attractive level, to lure buyers looking to bet on the upbeat sentiment in the commercial property market following the scrapping of the double stamp duty,” said James Mak, district sales director at Midland Commercial. Hong Kong scrapped the duty, officially known as Doubled Ad Valorem Stamp Duty (DSD), last month . The levy, introduced in February 2013 to curb speculative activity, doubled or increased stamp duty rates across the board. From November 26, these have reverted to their original rates, a move that is being viewed as cutting transaction costs and breathing new life into a market hit by last year’s anti-government protests, the Covid-19 pandemic and Hong Kong’s worst recession on record. “The office market is bottoming out – both leasing and sales deals have more than doubled since the government announced the withdrawal of the double stamp duty,” Mak said. “It will not surprise me if the first batch is snapped up quickly, once sales start in the next couple of days,” he added. The building will be sold in batches, with four floors – the 9th, 10th, 11th and 15th – coming on to the market first. Each floor has been divided into 19 units measuring 502 sq ft and above. More than 40 buyers have shown an interest in the units, while some buyers have shown an interest in buying three whole floors, the agents said. If any one buyer purchases an entire floor, which could amount to HK$350 million, NWD will refund them the stamp duty, which now amounts to 4.25 per cent, on completion of the deal. “Developers will leverage the uptick in the market to cash in on some of their noncore commercial properties, such as office buildings, shops and car parks. We will see transaction volumes pick up in the first half of next year, particularly in the offices sector,” said Vincent Cheung, managing director at Vincorn Consulting and Appraisal. “Office properties, in particular, because once we see vaccines becoming available widely, companies will come back to the city and seek office spaces,” he added.