Hong Kong property

Wheelock’s Kai Tak launch draws hundreds of homebuyers

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 September, 2017, 11:40pm
UPDATED : Friday, 15 September, 2017, 11:41pm

Hundreds of potential buyers queued up for the sales launch of a new residential project in Kai Tak by Wheelock Properties on Friday, with one group buying three units for a combined HK$31 million in the first hour of sales.

Three flats at Oasis Kai Tak were bought by two individuals near the 4pm sales launch for 130 units, according to Centaline Property Agency.

A new policy took effect on April 12, whereby buyers of multiple flats on the same sales contract must pay a 15 per cent stamp duty for each property.

“Investors account for about 30 per cent and end users make up of 70 per cent,” Sammy Po, chief executive of Midland Realty’s residential department said, referring to the prospective buyers.

About 90 units were sold by 5pm, according to Wheelock. The sale finished at 11pm.

About 1,500 prospective buyers registered for the sale. Friday’s turnout was relatively modest compared to the frenzied action last month when more than 22,000 prospective buyers signed up for Chinachem’s 521 unit sales launch on August 24.

Wheelock launched its Oasis Kai Tak, with flats as tiny as 274 square feet, at the highest price ever for the Kai Tak area.

The launch comes as Hong Kong home prices rose for 16 straight months through July.

On Wednesday Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor faced public pressure to follow through on her “Starter Homes” scheme to help first-time buyers get on the property ladder.

Prices for the first 130 units at Oasis Kai Tak, the sixth new project put on sale in the Kai Tak area, averaged HK$20,225 (US$2,587) per square foot, after a discount of up to 19.5 per cent.

The flats, in sizes ranging from 274 sq ft to 544 sq ft, were going for HK$5.18 million to HK$12.08 million, or HK$16,064 per square foot to HK$20,318 per square foot.

“We observed that Oasis Kai Tak only received 11.5 times reservation for the 130 units released in the first batch, although the developer offered mortgage financing as high as 80 per cent of the flat’s value, or borrowing rates as low as 1.3 percentage points above Hibor, suggesting buyers’ sentiment is no longer strong,” said Carmen Wong, an analyst at Bocom International.

“We believe sales momentum will remain weak unless developers cut prices like in Parc City [in Tsuen Wan],” she said.

Chinachem sold all 953 units at Parc City over two weekends at an average transaction price of HK$15,800 per square foot, the lowest among new flats in Tsuen Wan this year.

In response to Wheelock’s sale, rival Poly Property Group on Thursday released the price list for 120 units at Vibe Centro, located near Oasis Kai Tak, at an average HK$21,900 per sq ft after discounts of as much as 18 per cent and a HK$80,000 cash rebate for first time buyers.

The cheapest flat at Vibe Centro is a 245 sq ft studio for HK$4.68 million.