Property buyer sentiment remains cool over warm holiday period

Dearth of new projects dampens buyer interest during holidays, despite developer incentives

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 February, 2014, 5:57am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 February, 2014, 5:57am

Hong Kong experienced one of the warmest Lunar New Year holidays ever but the heat did not spread to the property market.

Developers' extra incentives to drum up sales failed to inspire buying with only a handful of units sold during the four-day holiday.

Sales in the secondary market remained sluggish. In the 10 major private housing estates monitored by Midland Realty, there were only three sales compared with seven deals during last year's Lunar New Year break.

"Buying sentiment remained weak as no new project launched … and lots of people spent their holiday overseas," said Sammy Po Siu-ming, the chief executive of the residential department at Midland Realty.

Market observers believe sales of new homes during this year's holidays could be as low as four deals compared with 140 recorded at the start of the Year of the Snake. Many of those deals last year were from the launch of Residence 88 in Yuen Long by Sun Hung Kai Properties.

Among the 18 projects on offer this year, sources said only Double Cove in Ma On Shan, The Reach in Yuen Long and Park Metropolitan in Kwun Tong recorded sales during the long weekend. Unit prices were HK$4 million to HK$9.5 million each.

To celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Horse, Sino Land and Cheung Kong are digging deeper into their pockets by offering extra sweeteners to boost sales.

Sino Land is offering a cash rebate of up to HK$388,000 for buyers of units at The Graces in Tai Po and Park Metropolitan in Kwun Tong from January 29 to February 28.

Buyers of Cheung Kong's Diva in Tin Hau will also enjoy a cash rebate equivalent to 2 per cent of the purchase price, and Wang On will offer an additional 2 per cent discount for buyers of The Met.Sublime in Sai Ying Pun.

Po said buying sentiment was also dampened by the government's curbs to halt runaway home prices.

"But home seekers will return to their buying mood this weekend once more big new projects launch for pre-sale," he said.

A soon-to-be launched project, The Golden Gate in Tai Po, has attracted over 1,000 potential buyers. The developer, Chinachem Group, put 10 show flats on view on Friday.

Chinachem has released the price list for the first 58 units at the 127-unit project, ranging from HK$13,267 per square foot to HK$16,750 per square foot. It is offering a 10 per cent discount off list price for buyers who complete the transaction within 90 days.

"Developers will continue offering discounts to lure buyers. With more new projects coming on the market, competition for buyers is going to get stiff," an agent said.