Swire sold 16 Dunbar Place flats in week after 'saleable area' law started
Doubling of stamp duty for non-permanent residents has bigger impact, says chief
Swire Properties sold 16 of the 30 units it offered for sale at Dunbar Place in Ho Man Tin in the week after new rules regulating flat sales took effect in April.
The developer generated an estimated HK$468 million from the sale of the units that went on the market on April 30, a day after the Residential Properties (First-hand Sales) Ordinance took effect.
Martin Cubbon, the chief executive of the company, rejected any suggestion the new rule affected the sales.
Speaking after the firm's annual general meeting yesterday, he said he was satisfied with the sales result in light of the declining number of overseas buyers.
The property developer offered the first 30 units of 53-unit Dunbar Place at an average price of HK$20,869 per square foot of saleable area.
He said the firm was preparing marketing material for other residential projects to comply with the new law.
Sales of homes have dropped since the government imposed a series of new property-related taxes, including a 15 per cent buyers' stamp duty for non-permanent residents and corporate buyers. The government also doubled the stamp duty payable for properties worth more than HK$2 million, taking it to 8.5 per cent, although first time home buyers were exempted.
From April 29, sales brochures for new residential projects must specify the size of flats in terms of "saleable floor area" - the usable space of a flat. The practice is common elsewhere.
Cubbon said the government's doubling of stamp duty had a bigger impact on the market than the introduction of the "saleable area" rule.
The law prohibits pricing based on a flat's "gross floor area", a calculation that includes pro rata allocations of common areas, such as lift lobbies, clubhouses, electricity meter rooms and rubbish collection areas.
Swire was the first developer to offer a new residential project for sale under the new ordinance.
"We just happened to be the first entity to launch a [project] sales under the new ordinance," he said. "It requires lots of hard work but it is fine."
Remarking on the market outlook, Cubbon said home prices were unlikely to fall significantly because Hong Kong's economic fundamentals have not changed, noting that there was still a lack of new supply.