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Old July 7th, 2010, 06:30 PM   #1
hkskyline
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HONG KONG | Hung Hom Bay Reclamation Site D1 | 100m (max) | Pro

Two Kowloon sites tipped to fetch more than HK$6b
1 July 2010
South China Morning Post

Two medium-sized residential sites in Kowloon were triggered for auction yesterday, a move that showed developers were eager to replenish their land banks in urban areas.

The Lands Department said a residential site in Hung Hom would be sold for a minimum guaranteed bid of HK$1.77 billion
and another residential site at Argyle Street, Ma Tau Wai, for HK$2.85 billion.

Surveyors estimated the two sites together would contribute more than HK$6 billion to government coffers.

Their optimism about the upcoming land sale rose after Sun Hung Kai Properties paid HK$10.9 billion for a luxury residential site in Ho Man Tin early last month. It was the second-highest price ever for a development site sold by auction.

Pang Shiu-kee, the managing director of SK Pang Surveyors, estimated the Hung Hom site would sell for an accommodation value of HK$7,000 per square foot or HK$2.5 billion.

He predicts a price of more than HK$10,000 per square foot or HK$4 billion for the Ma Tau Wai site.

"Considering the two sites' locations, developers big and small will join the auction," he said.

If a luxury residential site at Mount Nicholson, to be sold by auction on July 28, fetched a high price, the two Kowloon sites could attract higher bids, Pang said.

The auction of the two sites will be held on August 17.

Alvin Lam, a director at Midland Surveyors, said the unexpectedly strong outcome for the Ho Man Tin site showed that developers were willing to pay a higher price for development sites in good locations.

Lam expects keen bidding for the Hung Hom site as flats on the high floors would enjoy sea views.

The site, located in front of the residential project Harbour Place, will provide a total gross floor area of 365,750 square feet. The height limit of 100 metres allows for residential blocks of 33 storeys.

The reserve price of HK$1.77 billion represents an accommodation value of HK$4,839 per square foot.

Paul Louie, the regional head of property research at Nomura International, said the government had lowered its asking prices for sites under the application list in order to make it easier to trigger a sale.

"We can see more sites released for auction," he said.

The second site, which will provide a gross floor area of 394,285 sq ft, is at 204 Argyle Street, close to Kowloon Hospital.
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Old August 25th, 2010, 11:27 AM   #2
hkskyline
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Through the roof
18 August 2010
The Standard

The government raked in a massive HK$7.61 billion at land auctions yesterday - but the surprisingly high prices left a question mark over its new curbs to cool the sky-high market.

Experts believe more curbs will be brought in if home prices keep rising.

Cheung Kong Holdings (0001) stepped in to win both urban sites, taking a Hung Hom Bay plot for HK$3.51 billion - up 98.3 percent from the opening bid - and an Argyle Street plot for HK$4.1 billion, 43.5 percent above the trigger price.

The price of the Hung Hom plot shocked market watchers, said Patrick Moon-kit Chow, Ricacorp Properties head of research. "The result really far exceeded expectations," said Chow, "and the one in Argyle Street looks quite reasonable."

The Hung Hom site had been estimated to fetch up to HK$2.7 billion, while the Ho Man Tin plot's price was only lower than one estimate in a poll of six surveyors and a realtor.

Cheung Kong deputy chairman Victor Li Tzar-kuoi stressed the auction results should not be references for future property prices, given the special attractions of the two sites.

"The views are the major reasons we sought these plots - 90 percent of units in the Hung Hom Bay project will have sea or Central city views," Li said.

A similar proportion of the flats in the proposed project in Argyle Street will offer green views.

Li said there will be some homes smaller than 1,000 square feet at the two developments. He noted buyers for Cheung Kong's units are mostly end- users, with an insignificant number of confirmor sales.

On Friday the government acted to cool prices by banning the resale of homes before a deal is completed, and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority lowered the loan-to-value ratio for homes worth HK$12 million to HK$20 million to 60 percent, from 70 percent.

Buyers must spend no more than 50 percent of monthly income on a mortgage. The maximum loan-to-value ratio for first-time buyers was lowered from 95 percent to 90 percent.

Polytechnic University professor Eddie Hui Chi-man said the new curbs proved unable to contain rising home prices or deter developers from making bids yesterday.

Hui said the government should devise targeted measures to help the grassroots. ``It may need to consider increasing land supply for smaller units.''

The auction of more sites announced last Friday will add an extra supply of 540 homes, a negligible amount. But Hui acknowledged the government is effectively selling plots on a regular basis to meet market demand. A Kowloon Tong site will go under the hammer in two weeks, followed by three sites in Fan Ling, Chai Wan and Hung Hom.

Boosted by the auction, real estate stocks rose. Cheung Kong gained 1.06 percent, while Sino Land (0083) and Kerry Properties (0683) _ which formed a consortium _ rose 3.61 percent and 1.31 percent.

After the auction, Easyknit International (1218) released the initial price list for its single-building One Victory in Ho Man Tin. Prices range from HK$3.85 million to HK$9.44 million, or HK$9,778 to HK$11,010 per square foot.

Lands Department deputy director and auctioneer Graham Ross said the government is ``pleased to note the strong interest in the sites,'' but he declined to comment on the property curbs.
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