Hong Kong property

Cheung Kong’s Harbour Glory almost sold out as buyers shrug off stamp duty move

One family snapped up three units for a combined shopping bill of HK$132 million after a 34 per cent discount.

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 April, 2017, 8:34pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 April, 2017, 6:56pm

Cheung Kong Property Holdings, the first Hong Kong developer to put an apartment project on the market after a tightening in the government’s tax policy, said buyers had shrugged off concerns of a higher levy to snap up nearly every one of the 152 units of its Harbour Glory complex.

Four hours after making them available for sale, Cheung Kong had sold 142 units of Harbour Glory at North Point, for up to HK$43,900 per square foot, a record for the Island East district. One family snapped up three apartments for a total bill of HK$132 million after discounts, agents said.

Property buyers “prefer to hold fixed assets, rather than cash, because banks’ savings rates are close to zero and the stock market is volatile,” said Midland Realty’s chief executive for residential department Sammy Po.

Hong Kong’s government yesterday announced a new policy, whereby any buyer with multiple units must now pay a 15 per cent stamp duty for each, finally closing a legal loophole left open since November.

The move appeared not to have damped the enthusiasm of customers joining the queue for a chance to bid for Harbour Glory. Up to 30 per cent of the 900 buyers registered their interest for buying multiple number of units, agents and sales executives said.

“One family signed up to buy three units, including the most expensive one” located on the 25th floor, with a list price of HK$106 million,” said Cheung Kong Property’s executive director Justin Chiu Kwok-hung.

The list price of the 25th floor unit at Tower One, measuring 1,595 square feet, translates to HK$43,900 per square foot after discounts.

Each apartment unit at Harbour Glory, comprising six tower blocks, costs between HK$50 million and HK$60 million, a price point that makes it unlikely for buyers to seize 10 or more units at a time, Chiu said.

“The sales documents are still being processed, but from what I can see, most of the buyers were from families, or were made up of related family members who wanted to live close to each other,” he said. “They weren’t buying to lease.”

A Mandarin-speaking buyer who gave her surname as Lee, said she’s aiming to buy an apartment for between HK$30 million to HK$40 million.

“Last night’s announcement of cooling measure has limited impact on the housing market,” she said, “I think rich people can afford to pay the 15 per cent tax if they like the project.”

The government raised the property stamp duty for the second time in three years in November in a bid to tame soaring real estate prices. Effective from November 5, the levy on property transactions for non first-time buyers was increased to 15 per cent for individuals and corporate buyers.