Hong Kong property

Hong Kong set for home sales bonanza as developers rush to offload stock ahead of rate rise

SHKP and Nan Fung Development will flood the market with almost 900 flats two days before the Fed is expected to raise borrowing costs

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 September, 2018, 7:12pm
UPDATED : Friday, 21 September, 2018, 1:17pm

Almost 900 apartments will go on sale in Hong Kong during the three-day Mid-Autumn Festival, the most in one go for more than five years, as property developers frantically try to offload stock amid a souring market.

Sun Hung Kai Properties, the city’s biggest developer by market value, will put 32 units at its Cullinan West II development in western Kowloon up for sale on Sunday. On Tuesday, it will put up for sale 144 units at its soon-to-be completed Park Yoho Napoli development in Yuen Long.

Nan Fung Development will also put 707 apartments at its LP6 development in Tseung Kwan O up for sale on Tuesday.

Small flats to go on sale at Lohas Park at some of the lowest per-square-foot prices this year for homes near MTR stations

The sale of 883 units in total, the biggest in more than five years, will come two days before an expected interest rate increase announcement by the US Federal Reserve on Thursday.

The developers want to unload stock before an imminent interest rate increase, and before the worsening US-China trade war further dampens sentiment, said Alvin Cheung, associate director at institutional financial services company Prudential Brokerage.

“The interest rate rise has made potential homebuyers worry about a heavier mortgage burden under a likelier rise in prime rates among local banks,” he said. “Homebuyers have held back buying decisions [in the hope of] a potential downward adjustment in home prices. So the home market sentiment is souring, and developers dare not price homes at a fat premium.”

The home market sentiment is souring, and developers dare not price homes at a fat premium
Alvin Cheung, associate director, Prudential Brokerage

Cheung added that developers would continue to launch projects in a rush, as a result.

More than 2,300 potential buyers have registered their interest for the 707 apartments, the third batch made available for sale, since their details were released by Nan Fung on Monday. This means more than three buyers are competing for an apartment.

The average price of this batch of LP6 apartments is expected to be HK$16,283 per square foot, 4.7 per cent higher than a previous batch, because 340 apartments, or about half of the total, enjoy sea views.

The apartments will range from 306 sq ft to 1,086 sq ft. After factoring in discounts amounting to 19.5 per cent, the apartments will cost HK$4.54 million to HK$19.37 million, or HK$12,588 to HK$19,353 per square foot. LP6 comprises 2,392 units and is due for completion at the end of September, 2020.

Nan Fung, a textile manufacturer-turned developer, has sold 943 apartments over the past two weeks for HK$6.8 billion (US$866.9 million).

The average price at SHKP’s Park Yoho Napoli is expected to be HK$15,211 per square foot. The development has obtained an occupation permit and is expected to be completed by the end of October next year.

The sale comes amid the worsening US-China trade war, which has prompted Midland Realty, one of the largest real estate brokerage companies in Hong Kong, to forecast a drop in home prices in the city over the next three months.

Sun Hung Kai’s low-price tactic for new flats at Cullinan West II appears to pay off

“Home prices will peak soon, when new projects will be priced at market levels – with slim premiums,” Sammy Po, the Midland chief executive, said on Thursday. “Home prices will drop by 2-3 per cent in the last quarter.”

More than 6,100 flats might go up for sale in the coming two months, as developers face pressures that include a yet to be implemented vacancy tax.

The tax has contributed to a “short-term” spike in home launches, said Vincent Cheung, deputy managing director for Asia valuations and advisory services at Colliers International.

“Developers want to unload stock as soon as possible,” Cheung said, adding that developers would be in a better position to raise prices once they were under less stress to unload.

“[The spike in supply] is a short-term phenomenon. As long as the vacancy tax is not passed yet, this unusual scene will last. But when the vacancy tax is passed, I believe developers will no longer [launch so quickly] because the stock will [mostly] be cleared,” he said.