Hong Kong property

Tin Shui Wai site set to attract large and small bidders

Buyers' stamp duty on old buildings could make some developers rethink strategy, say experts

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

A residential site near a light-rail stop in Tin Shui Wai should attract both large and small bidders, whose development strategies may have been affected by the introduction of a buyer's stamp duty, according to surveyors.

"Developers are subject to the buyer's stamp duty when they acquire old buildings for redevelopment [though they can get it back later]. As the lump-sum price of this site shouldn't be too high, it may attract small and medium-sized developers who acquire old flats for land sites, because buying a site through a tender may be more efficient for them," said Ringo Lam Chun-chiu, valuation director at Wilkinson & Associates.

In October last year, the government introduced a 15 per cent buyer's stamp duty on property purchases by companies and non-local residents to cool the city's soaring home prices. Developers complained the tax would increase their costs if they acquired old flats for redevelopment, although the government said developers could get a refund.

Tenders will close today for the 196,248 sq ft site near the Tin Wing light-rail station. According to the MTR Corp, the site can yield a total gross floor area of about 979,500 sq ft, of which more than 99 per cent will be designated for building about 1,600 flats.

Sixteen developers including heavyweights Cheung Kong, Sun Hung Kai, Henderson Land, Sino Land, and Wheelock submitted expressions of interest for the site last month. Smaller developers such as Lai Sun, Asia Standard, Kowloon Development, and mainland developer China Overseas, have also signalled interest.

The successful bidder will be required to pay a land premium of nearly HK$2.69 billion, or about HK$2,700 per sq ft based on gross floor area, according to a person familiar with the details. It will also need to pay the MTR Corp about HK$400 million for site formation works.

The site will be awarded based on the bidders' proposed profit-sharing ratio with the railway operator, the person added.

Including construction costs, surveyors expect the development costs of this project will be around HK$5,000 per sq ft in terms of gross floor area. So a developer may sell the flats built on the site for about HK$6,500 to HK$7,000 per sq ft.

Flats in neighbouring areas such as Central Park Towers and Kingswood Villas are now being offered for sale at between HK$4,000 and HK$5,300 per sq ft on average.

Lam said since Tin Shui Wai was regarded as a little remote it was not a "must-bid" project for large developers, who might have an interest in bidding for luxury sites such as those currently open for tender in Ho Man Tin and Kau To, Sha Tin. Smaller developers might therefore have a higher chance of wining the site.

"Land costs in Tin Shui Wai are lower, which makes it attractive to medium-sized developers, especially since there is a shortage of sites in Hong Kong," said Charles Chan Chiu-kwok, managing director Savills Valuation and Professional Services.