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Property News Weekly Digest
2021/10/16
〈Asian Post, Oct 16, 2021〉China Evergrande has failed to sell its single largest asset to state-backed Yuexiu Property, Reuters reported, a huge blow to the debt-stricken developer's efforts to raise funds it needs to survive.

Guangzhou government-backed Yuexiu Property dropped a proposed US$1.7 billion offer to buy Evergrande's 26-storey office tower in Wan Chai.

Reuters cited two sources saying Yuexiu's board had opposed the move over worries that Evergrande's unresolved indebtedness would create potential complications in completing the transaction smoothly.

Evergrande and Yuexiu did not respond to inquiries from the Post.

The embattled home builder had been seeking to sell the China Evergrande Centre in Wan Chai that serves as its headquarters in Hong Kong to mainland peer Yuexiu Property for US$2 billion, Bloomberg and other mainland media reported in August. Evergrande paid US$1.61 billion for the building six years ago.

〈China Daily, Oct 15, 2021〉The city's bourse operator will offer more products to investors to back the SAR's vital functions under the nation's 14th Five-Year Plan. HKEX chief Laura Cha Shih May-lung talks to Oswald Chan.

The National People's Congress — the nation's top legislature — approved the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) in March, vowing continued support for Hong Kong's lifting its position as an international financial, transportation and trade center, an offshore renminbi business hub, and a pivot for global assets management and risk management.

"I think this is the first time that the central government set out very clearly the direction for us, but even before these were set, Hong Kong was already moving in that direction," said Laura Cha Shih May-lung, chairman of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, which runs the city's bourse.

〈China Daily, Oct 14, 2021〉Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor's final Policy Address visualized the future of the city at the final stage of her tenure. The address focused mostly on housing and land supply, the chronic issue that has been getting on the public's nerves for decades. The bold plan for a Northern Metropolis proposed by Lam raised eyebrows, and the vast bordering land of Hong Kong and Shenzhen, most of which is wild nature preserves, is about to be in the spotlight.

The metropolis envisaged by the Policy Address, covering 300 square kilometers, is expected to accommodate around 926,000 households — more than half to be newly built — for around 2.5 million people. Lam said the development aims to grow into an innovation and technology hub, creating more than 500,000 jobs, and complementing the city's role as a financial center.

In total, 1 million housing units could be ready to be in the real estate market in the next 20 to 25 years, 34 percent of the current supply of 2.94 million units.

Hong Kong already plans artificial islands estimated to cost HK$624 billion ($80.2 billion) — its most expensive infrastructure project —with up to 400,000 units across 1,700 hectares of reclaimed land.

As per Lam's remarks, "Fortunately, the implementation of the National Security Law (for Hong Kong) and the improvement to our electoral system have restored safety and stability in society. Hong Kong is now ready again for a new start for economic development".

〈Asian Post, Oct 13, 2021〉Hong Kong's office rental market is showing signs of recovery after being battered by social unrest in 2019 and the pandemic that immediately followed it.

The three months to September saw "positive net absorption" for the first time in two years, meaning more space was taken up than left empty, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

The property services giant halved its forecast for the overall average rental decline this year from a range of 8 per cent to 13 per cent to between 4 per cent and 6 per cent.

The average rent per square foot in the city has fallen by 26.4 per cent from a peak of HK$75.90 in April 2019 to HK$55.90 in the third quarter of this year.

"Compared to the relatively low levels of tenant movement in the second quarter, we saw a resurgence of transaction activity in the third quarter with several notable deals concluded by tenants from within the banking and finance, insurance and business centre [and] co-working sectors," said Keith Hemshall, Cushman & Wakefield's head of office services for Hong Kong.

〈China Daily, Oct 12, 2021〉Buyers snap up all 30 homes at the Artique project in Sheung Shui, a district that is part of Carrie Lam's proposed development blueprint

The city's first weekend property sale after Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor's policy address was mixed, as homebuyers snapped up all the flats in Sheung Shui, which is part of a proposed Northern Metropolis, but were less enthusiastic about those in Lohas Park from an earlier project.

Developer Tai Hung Fai Group Holdings had yesterday evening sold all 30 flats at its six-storey Artique development in Sheung Shui, a district that is part of Lam's proposed Northern Metropolis. The project received about 850 registrations of intent, or about 28 bids for each available flat, according to agents.

"The new Artique project in Sheung Shui has received a boost from Chief Executive Carrie Lam's proposal, which has generated some excitement among prospective homebuyers in the area," said Louis Chan Wing-kit, Centaline Property Agency's vice-chairman and chief executive of its residential department in Asia-Pacific.

Weekend property sales, usually held on Saturdays, were postponed after the city's first typhoon signal No 8 of the year was hoisted. All typhoon signal warnings were cancelled yesterday.