Unrest takes toll on home salesTechnology | Stella Zhai 22 Aug 2019
Some hong kong developers have postponed new project launches this month amid sluggish sales, dragged by the ongoing social unrest.
Only 206 new home transactions were recorded as of August 15, plunging 74 percent from the 790 sales for the first 15 days of July. It was the lowest half-monthly performance in the past few months, data from Sales of First-hand Residential Properties Authority showed.
The primary market was also slowed by a lower supply, as developers turned cautious under the recent social environment, delaying the release of new units, while prospective purchasers also altered their plans, market watchers say.
Among projects that opened for sales in the past two weeks, Ontolo in Pak Shek Kok, under Great Eagle (0041), saw 120 units sold. Some other developers didn't even post sales of more than 20 flats. Henderson Land (0012) unloaded 12 apartments during the first half this month, mainly at its Novum West in Quarry Bay.
Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) recorded 12 deals for units of its Mount Regency Phase II in Tuen Mun, and K Wah International (0173) sold seven flats at Solaria in Tai Po.
The second week of August was cheerless for the city's primary market, with only a few transactions recorded each day, compared to more than 10 deals per day in the same week of July.
Three apartments were sold on August 14. These included Unit N, Floor 8 in the third block of Park Mediterranean in Sai Kung, sized 396 square feet, that fetched HK$8.2 million, or HK$20,707 per square foot.
Meanwhile, the 440-sq-ft Unit D, Floor 2 in the first block of Solaria in Tai Po sold for HK$7.69 million, or HK$17,477 per sq ft, and a 420-sq-ft apartment at L'Wanchai in Wan Chai went for HK$15.2 million, or HK$36,190 per sq, according to the Register of Transactions.
Primary sales are expected to slowly bounce back in the second half of the month if protests subside.
On August 17, local developer Billion Development & Project Management sold out its second batch of 354 home units at Aurora in Tsuen Wan that was 24 times oversubscribed.
The developer will launch a third batch of 216 apartments on Saturday, at average prices of between HK$17,215 and HK$21,901 per sq ft, representing a 7-percent discount from the first batch.
Property agency Qfang Group predicts total new home transactions may fall below 1,000 in August, compared to more than 1,300 the previous month.
It says the ongoing political unrest will further impact market sentiment, leading to slower launches of new projects by cautious developers, combined with reduced demand from potential buyers.
But Midland Realty's residential division chief executive Sammy Po Siu-ming pointed out there remains a strong demand for the SAR's new homes. Similar to the secondary market, bargain hunters will enter the market as long as property owners cut prices by more than 10 percent, Po said, adding that the total transaction number in August hinges on the volume and price of new homes to be launched later this month.
Midland expects the transaction number for new homes to hold above 1,000 in August - even if it may be lower than the previous month.