Giant sees bright road ahead

Business | Joyce Chen and Samantha Wong 23 Feb 2018

Wheelock and Company (0020) gained HK$26 billion from property sales last year and expects more this year, says the developer's vice chairman, Stewart Leung Chi-kin.

He still hopes that the government can work with developers and landlords in the New Territories to convert farmland to residential use, which is the most efficient way to create more land supply in Hong Kong rather than reclamation and other means.

The government has been fighting on paper only and it has no long-term plan for the supply of housing land, which has pushed up prices of both land and property, Leung said at a media meeting.

Annual price growth of 20 to 30 percent is not healthy and affects social livelihood.

The government should also ease mortgage rates, he added.

For the Year of the Dog, Wheelock's project Malibu in Lohas Park will be open for sale next month at the earliest, and hopefully by the end of this year the project on Peak Road.

Meanwhile, real-estate brokerage Midland Holdings (1200) expects home prices in Hong Kong to rise by 10 percent this year, buoyed by the positive economy and low unemployment. Luxury housing will be the best performer, and prices of office buildings could rise as much as 20 percent, said the company's deputy chairman, Angela Wong Ching-yi.

Midland will continue recruiting, expecting 2,000 more staff. And it will open 50 new branches in Hong Kong, especially in the New Territories, where more new housing projects are offered.

Developer Emperor International Holdings (0163) will continue to focus on increasing land banking, especially in East Kowloon areas such as Kai Tak and Yau Tong.

Its executive director, Donald Cheung, called the government to increase land supply and the development plot ratio.

The executive director of Cheung Kong Assets (1113), Justin Chiu Kwok-hung, seemed to agree.

He said the plot ratio could grow from eight to 15 times, but considering that increasing the ratio in existing downtown areas would create traffic problems, the government should try it in Kai Tak, where development has just started.

The Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors said yesterday it has suggested to the government how to minimize unauthorized building work and enhance the safety of buildings.

It says potential buyers should consult surveyors or relevant qualified persons before purchasing.

The government should offer a land premium discount for developers and non-government organizations to build elderly homes for those who don't qualify for public housing, it added.

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