Hong Kong property

Swire blinks, cuts prices on Lantau homes

Six months after the initial release of Whitesands drew scant interest from buyers, Swire unveils price cuts and other incentives

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 November, 2016, 10:56pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 November, 2016, 10:57pm

Swire Properties has bucked the rising home price trend in Hong Kong by selling 12 houses on Lantau Island as much as 30 per cent cheaper than the previous launch six months ago.

The developer, which builds luxury properties such as Opus Hong Kong in Mid-Levels, on Wednesday night uploaded the latest price list for the house development, Whitesands, in southern Lantau.

Selling prices for the selected houses were 1.2 per cent to 13.5 per cent lower than the price list released in April.

Swire said buyers would get further discount and tax rebates if they made the purchase before December 16 and completed the deal in three months.

“After all incentives, the maximum discount is as much as 30 per cent ,” said a Swire spokesperson. Asking prices for homes range from HK$33.76 million to HK$60.67 million.

“We hope the revised price list can attract more buyers,” she said.

Whitesands, a 28-house development, was first launched in October 2015 but reaped lukewarm response with two houses sold.

The price reduction comes as the city’s housing market is heating up and developers aggressively bid for Hong Kong government land sites, in some instances paying record prices.

On Wednesday, mainland conglomerate HNA Group surprised the market by winning a residential site in Kai Tak area for HK$8.84 billion, or HK$13,500 per square foot, nearly double analysts’ forecast.

Home prices have risen for the six straight months through September, accumulative average growth of 8.8 per cent, according to Rating and Valuation Department. Home prices in the city are 3.46 per cent below their peak in September last year.

While the city’s property market is being swept higher, property consultants caution that location and infrastructure are keys to attract buyers.

Joseph Tsang, managing director at property consultant JLL’s Hong Kong office, said Swire’s Lantau property is located in the area that mainland buyers have little interest.

Tsang said the incentives offered by Swire and the higher-than-expected bid for the Kai Tak site are two individual cases and could not serve as barometers of the market outlook.

Mainland buyers have been returning to Hong Kong’s high-end housing market as the yuan devaluates and as the mainland government imposes curbs to help cool its sizzling property market.

Property agents said mainland buyers they were interested in first-hand properties in urban areas.

“In some projects, mainlanders account for more than 30 per cent [of buyers],” said Sammy Po, managing director of Midland Realty’s residential department.

Po expects home prices will go up 7 per cent in the next two months, surpassing the market’s previous peak.