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Property News Weekly Digest
〈The Standard, May 9, 2020〉Unlike its regional competitor Singapore, Hong Kong has resisted relaxing property cooling measures and real estate lawmaker Abraham Shek Lai-him warned that this could lead to more negative equity cases.

Shek said some companies wanted to sell their properties to survive the downturn but they failed to do so due to such cooling measures.

His comments came as Singapore yesterday revealed it had extended the project completion period for eligible residential, commercial and industrial developments by six months with immediate effect.

Married couples will also have one year instead of six months to sell their first residential property to be eligible for remission of the additional buyer's stamp duty for their second property.

Meanwhile, in the primary market in Hong Kong, Wing Tai Properties (0369) released 108 flats in the first price list of Oma by the Sea in Tuen Mun, at an average price of HK$12,548 per square feet after discounts, 26 percent lower than that of the first price list of China Evergrande's (3333) Emerald Bay Phase 2 in the same district.

The cheapest 333-sq-ft flat is offered at HK$3.88 million, or HK$11,655 per sq ft, after discounts.

In Tin Shui Wai, Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) uploaded the sales brochure of Wetland Seasons Park Phase 2, with the smallest flat measuring 282 sq ft.

〈Asian Post, May 9, 2020〉Hong Kong's first tender for commercial land this year, at the city's former airport in Kowloon, received four bids yesterday.

Property consultants have revised their valuations for the site downwards by up to 20 per cent.

The site at Kai Tak, which is in three plots, saw bids from Sun Hung Kai Properties, CK Asset Holdings, K&K Property and a consortium of Sino Land and Lifestyle International Holding. The Lands Department earlier said four bids had been received.

The number of bids met an industry consensus, given the size of the project and the city's coronavirus-ravaged economy.

Thomas Lam, executive director of property agency Knight Frank, cut his valuation for the plot by 20 per cent to as much as HK$7.1 billion, or HK$6,500 per square foot. Total investment would range from HK$11 billion to HK$13 billion, he said.

The site, which can yield a gross floor area of up to 1.16 million sq ft, is earmarked for offices, shopping centres and hotels.

〈China Daily, May 8, 2020〉Companies that flourished by providing inexpensive shared-office space have hit a brick wall as the pandemic hammers commerce in general, and the industry in particular. Luo Weiteng reports from Hong Kong.

Once hailed as a game changer and trailblazer in the world’s most expensive office market, Hong Kong’s coworking sector, already reeling from the months-long citywide violent protests and protracted Sino- US trade skirmish, is poised to slip further into the doldrums in the wake of the corona-virus crisis.

While usually slow to see innovations that really catch on in town, Asia’s financial center this time lost no time in embracing the advantages of coworking spaces, which offered a ray of hope for those trying to cope with the city’s skyrocketing office rentals.

By 2018, coworking operators had taken up more than 1.1 million square feet (102,200 square meters) out of 90 million sq ft of available o ffice space, according to global real estate consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle.

WeWork — the one-time runaway success and biggest player in the red-hot coworking industry worldwide — had expanded its business footprint more than sevenfold in Hong Kong over the past three years, from 112,000 sq ft in 2016 to 821,000 sq ft last year, according to commercial property company Cushman & Wakefield.

〈China Daily, May 7, 2020〉Vice-president of tech giant pays HK$270m with discount for the 5,076 sq ft property

A Tencent Holdings executive has paid HK$270 million for a massive duplex in the prestigious neighbourhood of Repulse Bay.

James Gordon Mitchell, chief strategy officer and vice-president at the Chinese tech giant, bought the 5,076 sq ft property at 56 Repulse Bay Road, overlooking one of Hong Kong's most scenic beaches, for about 18 per cent less than the owner's original asking price of HK$328 million, said agents familiar with the deal.

Mitchell and his wife Joy Hu Lan-Ya are the joint owners of the property, according to Land Registry documents.

Mitchell paid HK$53,000 per square foot for the duplex, which comes with a 1,544 sq ft rooftop garden. The house had been on the market since 2014.

〈Asian Post, May 6, 2020〉An entire block on Hennessy Road, near Sogo,is on the market for the first time since 2009

For the first time in more than a decade, prime Hong Kong retail real estate is coming on the market for sale, as long-term property investors anticipate a further decline in the city's commercial property sector.

The city's retail sector has been hit hard, first by months of anti-government protests, and then the novel coronavirus pandemic. The economy suffered its worst contraction on record in the first quarter of this year, slumping by 8.9 per cent year on year.

As a result, an entire block near the Sogo department store in Causeway Bay has been listed for sale. The six-storey building on Hennessy Road, on the market for HK$1 billion, is currently occupied by Swiss luxury watchmaker Breitling and Hong Kong jeweller Tse Sui Luen. It has a gross floor area of 10,000 sq ft and can be redeveloped into a new commercial building with a gross floor area of 300,000 sq ft.

It is the first whole building on Hennessy Road to be offered for sale since 2009, when Angela Leung, Macau gaming tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun's fourth wife, bought Continental Diamond Plaza, the block next to Sogo, for HK$838 million, or HK$18,300 per square foot.

"Very few properties change hands on this strip of Hennessy Road due to its incredibly prestigious location," said Reeves Yan, head of capital markets in Hong Kong for CBRE, which is the sole agent for the sale. "And the price is negotiable."