Goldin Financial Holdings will “actively participate” in Hong Kong government land sales after it formed a HK$20 billion joint venture with its chairman Pan Sutong to diversify into property investment in the city and in the mainland. “We prefer buying land suitable for the development of high-end residential and commercial projects,” said Tommy Ting, vice president of Goldin Financial. “The market has been confused by the outcome of some recent land sales. We have seen some government sites sold for shockingly high prices but these just reflected the successful bidder’s special interest in that individual site. “It cannot serve as the market benchmark. Over all, land prices are not really that high.” In September, the group said in a stock exchange filing that it would take a 60 per cent stake in the joint venture, with the remaining 40 per cent held by Pan. Pan was ranked the ninth richest person in Hong Kong in May, according to Forbes magazine, with a net worth of US$5.6 billion. We have seen some government sites sold for shockingly high prices...it cannot serve as the market benchmark Tommy Ting, vice president, Goldin Financial He does not expect land prices in prime locations to fall from their current levels, as both Hong Kong and mainland players remain keen to acquire sites for development in the city. Ting said developers’ appetite for land in Hong Kong would not be deterred by the 25 basis points rise in US interest rates or the tighter mainland government curbs on capital outflow. “The market has digested the news of the US rate hike as it has been expected for a year,” he said. China’s recent restrictions would not mean a halt of all capital outflows or outbound investment, he added. Ting does not see home prices moving by more than 5 per cent in either direction next year, as first-time buyers will be unaffected by the recent increase in stamp duty. The government raised stamp duty for all residential transactions to 15 per cent to curb price growth on November 5. Non-property owners are exempted. Ting was speaking as the firm released its first grade-A office project, Goldin Financial Global Centre, in Kowloon Bay, for leasing. Sam Li , general manager for leasing, Goldin Financial, said the asking rents for the 23-storey building would be HK$27 to HK$40 per square foot. Negotiations with banks, financial institutions and foreign corporations to take up office spaces were under way, he said. The total investment of the development was HK$6 billion, inclusive of the HK$3.43 billion Goldin Financial paid for the site in a government land tender in July 2011. Located at 17 Kai Cheung Road, the project has a total gross floor area of 900,000 square feet for lease - 800,000 sq ft of office space and 100,000 sq ft earmarked for restaurants.