Hong Kong property

Hong Kong office property landlords race to sell as mainland buyers push up prices

The yuan’s slide is fuelling Chinese investors’ appetite for commercial space in Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 September, 2016, 6:35pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 September, 2016, 7:57pm

Landlords of office properties in some of Hong Kong’s less upmarket areas are rushing to dispose of their assets in a bid to take advantage of a buying frenzy by mainlanders, according to agents.

International property consultant CBRE said it has been appointed as the joint agent for the disposal of a basket of commercial properties in Wan Chai Commercial Centre on Johnston Road, Wan Chai, by public tender. The estimated market value is around HK$450 million.

Buyers can consider purchasing the whole lot or a portion of the available office space.

The basket of properties consists of Shop C on the ground floor, and the whole of the second floor, seventh to ninth floors, and sixteenth to eighteenth floors. In addition, one third of the basement, the rear flat roof on the fourth floor, and the upper roof will be sold.

Meanwhile, Colliers International said it is acting on behalf of owners to sell a whole office tower in Wan Chai.

Strata-titled properties - those that are individually owned but share some common facilities - are now changing hands at record-high unit rates after a number of non-Grade A office buildings sold at prices approaching the Central Grade-A office market average, according to Denis Ma, head of research at JLL in Hong Kong.

Henderson Land Development has agreed to sell its Golden Centre office building in Sheung Wan to an undisclosed buyer for HK$4.4 billion, according to a filing made to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on September 15. The 27-storey building at 188 Des Voeux Road Central, which was built in 1991, has a gross floor area of approximately 156,000 square feet.

The deal translates to a price of HK$28,000 per square foot, which is close to the recent transaction value of a commercial property at 9 Queen’s Road Central - a prime location in Hong Kong’s real estate market.

Earlier this year, there were market rumours that the developer had released 30 properties owned either by Henderson Land or its chairman Lee Shau-kee for sale with an indicative price of HK$68 billion, in areas including Kwun Tong, North Point and Central.

While Henderson has not disclosed the Golden Centre’s buyer, mainland Chinese companies have led a surge in demand for office property in the city.

Ma said the price of office properties had been pushed up by strong sales to mainlanders, as they increasingly look for investment opportunities outside China.

The depreciation of the yuan, which is down 5.8 per cent against a basket of trade-weighted currencies this year, is a key factor behind Chinese investors looking outside the mainland, especially in Hong Kong where the local currency is pegged to the US dollar, said Ma.