Property investment

30-storey office tower sold for HK$3b in Mong Kok, Hong Kong

Deal involving Nan Fung Development a sign that investors are targeting commercial blocks amid new cooling measures in the housing market

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 February, 2013, 4:40am

Nan Fung Development has sold its office tower in Mong Kok for about HK$3 billion, a sign that en bloc office deals remain a target of investors and end users, say agents.

The developer sold 113 Argyle Street, close to the Mong Kok East MTR station, for HK$8,824 per square foot, agents said. The developer was unavailable for comment.

Market talk is that the buyer is a related party of Hang Seng Bank. The bank yesterday refused to comment on reports of the tower sale.

The 30-storey office building provides a total gross floor area of about 340,000 sq ft. Each floor has an area of 13,100 sq ft.

The monthly rent of the building is about HK$7.5 million and the buyer could enjoy a rental yield of 3 per cent, based on current monthly income.

The insurance unit of Hang Seng Bank bought seven office floors and 30 car parking spaces at Exchange Tower in Kowloon Bay from Sino Land for HK$1.56 billion at the end of last year.

Property consultants said cooling measures introduced by the government, including a new stamp duty of 15 per cent on non-locals and companies buying homes and a rise in a special stamp duty on sellers to curb speculation, might have diverted investors to commercial deals, including both office and retail properties.

The total number of major office deals increased by 42.1 per cent quarter-on-quarter in the last three months of 2012, according to international property consultant DTZ.

Several big deals, such as the purchases of Manulife Tower, Tin Hau, and Stanhope House, Quarry Bay, lifted the total consideration on all deals by 223.7 per cent quarter-on-quarter to HK$15.25 billion.

Office investment is supported both by institutional investors and end users, especially by mainland companies.

Meanwhile, office properties with a strong retail element, especially those located in prime retail districts have also attracted investors' attention, DTZ said in a research report.

William Liu, director of CBRE's investment properties (Hong Kong division), said domestic capital would continue to account for the bulk of activity, as foreign institutional investors remain on the sidelines due to uncertainty over the potential for prices to rise further.