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Old October 20th, 2014, 06:33 PM   #1801
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Developers squeeze out tiny flats as home prices soar
20 October 2014
South China Morning Post Excerpt

For the past three years, Lily Kuang has preferred hanging out at cafes with friends, spending time at the library or even working longer in the office to returning home to her tiny flat too early.

The 35-year-old from Chongqing has been living in a studio flat of about 200 sq ft in Wan Chai after the multinational company she works for sent her from Beijing to Hong Kong, the world's costliest city to buy property.

"I used to live alone in an 80 sq metre (860 sq ft) unit in Beijing," Kuang said. "I was shocked when my budget was only enough to rent such a tiny flat when I moved to Hong Kong. I was even more shocked to see a family of four live in a flat the same size as mine next door!

"I really sympathise with Hong Kong people over their rapidly shrinking living space."

Kuang's flat may be small but it does not come cheap. Every month, she pays HK$9,800 in rent, equivalent to a third of her monthly income in her company's human resources department.

"Rents are too expensive in Hong Kong," she said. "In Beijing, rental expenses were just about 10 per cent of my salary."

Hong Kong rents and home prices rose to fresh highs for the fifth consecutive month in August, forcing foreign and local residents with limited budgets to abandon their hopes for a decent-sized home.

In the five months to August, the average cost of flats smaller than 430 sq ft rose 6 per cent to HK$5.2 million from HK$4.9 million, according to data from the Rating and Valuation Department.

Developers quickly spotted small flats as a lucrative, untapped market in the wake of a sharp fall in big-ticket transactions as a result of the government's cooling measures - credit tightening and an increase in supply - to curb investment demand, particularly from cashed-up mainland buyers.

Early this month, Cheung Kong (Holdings) unveiled the city's tiniest new flat, just 165 sq ft, at its Mont Vert II development in Tai Po, two months after selling a 177 sq ft unit for HK$1.77 million at Mont Vert I.

The 165 sq ft offering was one square foot smaller than one that sold for HK$3.6 million - or HK$20,395 per square foot - at High Place in Kowloon City, built by Henderson Land Development, in October last year.

Sun Hung Kai Properties is also jostling for the lion's share of the mini-flats market with units starting from 160 sq ft in usable floor area - excluding kitchen and washroom - in its proposed 3,400-unit project at the MTR's Nam Cheong Station in Sham Shui Po.

"With housing prices in Hong Kong being the highest in the world, people are forced to turn to smaller but affordable flats," said Charles Chan, Savills' managing director for valuation and professional services.

But the trend - also encouraged by the government putting up more land designated for small flats - has further aggravated the lack of living space in Hong Kong, which has been the world's least affordable housing market for four years in a row, according to United States consulting firm Demographia.

In survey results released in January, it said average home prices had risen to 14.9 times gross annual median income from 13.5 times previously, the highest in the survey's 10-year history.

"Theoretically, tiny flats can achieve higher prices per square foot because of the smaller lump-sum amount [required to buy them]," Chan said.

"From developers' point of view, strong demand for these flats will also reduce their investment risk, so why not build more small flats."

A South China Morning Post survey found major developers are now increasingly moving towards building smaller flats.

In the first eight months of this year, 1,554 units smaller than 215 sq ft in usable area secured permits to get off the ground, up 128 per cent from 680 units in the same period last year.

The phenomenon is a complete reversal of the trend three years ago, when flats of more than 1,000 sq ft were built to cater to cash-rich mainlanders who accounted for nearly 40 per cent of new home purchases and were particularly keen on luxury residential projects.

Victor Lui Ting, a deputy managing director at SHKP, said the developer would increase the supply of small flats in view of the strong demand.

SHKP applied to the Town Planning Board last month for permission to convert four luxury residential projects in northeast New Territories that were providing large flats of up to 2,000 sq ft into 4,000 smaller units, including studios as small as 200 sq ft.
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Old October 23rd, 2014, 07:28 PM   #1802
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Construction costs continue to soar, beating inflation
22 October 2014
South China Morning Post Excerpt



Imported workers and new methods of building may offer solutions to industry, experts say

Rising building costs in Hong Kong show no sign of abating, with construction inflation consistently exceeding the city’s overall inflation rate, consultants say.

With the sector struggling to find a solution in the short term, the adoption of more efficient design and building practices – with the help of technology – offers a longer-term way of managing cost pressures, said Malcolm Johnston, an executive director of international construction consultancy Langdon & Seah.

Construction inflation in Hong Kong in 2013 was 9 per cent for building works and 7 per cent for civil engineering works, according to the firm. This contrasts with the city’s 4.4 per cent inflation rate last year.

Johnston said these costs are expected to rise further, with an estimated 7-10 per cent growth rate this year. The slower expansion in the housing market could trim the growth rate to 6-8 per cent next year, he said, but that was still likely to exceed the city’s overall inflation rate.

Construction cost cycles fluctuate due to a variety of factors including labour supply, general capacity of the industry, demand volume and commodity prices.

Labour is a key factor, said Thomas Ho, chief executive of Gammon Construction.

With Hong Kong facing a shortage of 10,000 construction workers, the government has started exploring long-term solutions to the labour shortfall, including the possibility of importing workers. But Ho said that progress was extremely slow and wages kept rising.

Johnston said imported labour may be part of the solution. The shortage also stems from an ageing workforce and lack of new blood coming into the industry.

Johnston suggests efforts to promote efficiency, such as tapping into 3D modelling technology, may prove more promising.
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Old October 29th, 2014, 08:47 PM   #1803
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New flat sales to hit record despite curbs
The Standard Excerpt
Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New flat sales are set to hit record highs this year as primary registrations up to Monday had already reached HK$141.74 billion, up 53.3 percent from a year earlier, figures from the Land Registry show.

The surge comes despite housing curbs with sales of new homes remaining robust in the second half.

A total of 13,591 primary home deals were also registered during the first 10 months the highest figure for the past five years.

Midland Realty chief analyst Buggle Lau Ka-fai believes the sales boom will push both transaction value and number for the year to new record levels.

Amid the upbeat sentiment, Wing Tai Properties (0369) may unveil its premium development, Homantin Hillside by November, management revealed yesterday.

"With better location, prices per square foot should be higher than similar projects atop the Kowloon MTR station, close to upscale properties in Kowloon Tong," executive director of sales and marketing Wilson Chan Yuk-sing said.

The Ho Man Tin project has 173 units, with mostly three to four rooms, though 20 percent will have just one bedroom.
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Old October 30th, 2014, 06:04 PM   #1804
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One Bay East
By ngkwokhing from dcfever :

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Old November 1st, 2014, 10:07 PM   #1805
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深水埗重建 52意向熱爆
11月2日 (日)
Excerpt





52 bids were received in 2 recent development plots in Sham Shui Po district, setting a new record since 2004. Both plots have been valued at $2.779 billion.

市區供應少,上周市區重建局連推兩個深水埗海壇街項目,昨共接52份意向書,其中具規模的海壇街及桂林街重建項目收到25份,而海壇街229A至G號迷你項目更收到27份,數目均創○四年三月以來逾十年最多,大部分財團「大小通吃」連入兩份意向書,包括長實(00001)、新地(00016)、萬科置業(香港)及越秀地產(00123)等,兩項目估值約27.79億元。

爭兩項目 十年最激

市建局公布,上述深水埗海壇街/桂林街及北河街發展計劃,以及海壇街229A至G號需求主導重建項目,分別收到25及27份標書,市建局董事會轄下的遴選小組將挑選合適發展商提交標書,預計招標工作快將展開。

兩個項目所收到意向書數目,均創○四年三月以來逾十年最多,當時灣仔莊士敦道重建項目收到32份意向書,即現址嘉薈軒。
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Old November 19th, 2014, 04:56 AM   #1806
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Smaller flats as SHKP wins Tuen Mun race
The Standard Excerpt
Thursday, November 13, 2014





A Tuen Mun residential plot was taken by Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) for HK$1.05 billion, meeting estimates.

SHKP outbid 10 other developers, including Cheung Kong Holdings (0001), K Wah International (0173) and Sino Land (0083), to secure the site.

With a site area of about 119,000 square feet and a gross floor area of more than 475,000 sq ft, the price translates to HK$2,209 per sq ft, close to the record low of HK$2,139 set in a February tender for another Tuen Mun plot.

The site is near the Tuen Mun Treatment Works, Tuen Mun Hospital and Lingnan University, with the nearest West Rail station being Siu Hong.

The developer must conduct special safety checks during construction as the site is near a water treatment plant, as well as landslip barriers.

Deputy managing director Victor Lui Ting said SHKP will invest HK$3 billion to build small to mid-sized flats.

A minimum 735 units will be built, as set by the government terms.
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Old November 22nd, 2014, 10:33 PM   #1807
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The conquest of space
21 November 2014
China Daily Excerpt

Fed up with clutter, and as average living space per person diminishes, more and more Hong Kong residents are looking to self-storage firms for solutions. Agnes Lu reports.

Five months ago, Henri's girlfriend decided to move in. As a lawyer working in Central, he was keeping all of his Hong Kong belongings in a small Sheung Wan flat of around 400 to 500 square feet. Now he had to find another place to store his golf gear, empty suitcases, old books and out-of-season clothes.

"I was walking near my apartment when I saw this storage company. For me, the priority was convenience. I basically chose the storage space that was closest to my apartment," Henri said.

The storage was just a minute's walk from where he lives. He chose a storage room of four feet by three feet, for HK$1,300 ($168) a month. He delivered to the company the stuff he would not need for a while and signed a monthly contract, letting him easily take back the items whenever he gets a bigger apartment. "It was a very simple decision," Henri said.

To avoid clutter, and with the average living space per person in Hong Kong diminishing, more and more residents are favoring Henri's solution. Old baby toys, family photo albums, piles of documents and seasonal clothes don't have to be crammed into cabinets or get scattered whenever the door is opened.

Simply carry them to the nearest storage company - or have someone come to pick them up - and enjoy living in a neat apartment. With your memories safely stored, a simple key lets you revisit those former days at will.

Within easy reach

Self-storage, or mini-storage, is sweeping Hong Kong's households and small firms. According to the Self Storage Association Asia (SSAA), at a rough count, there were more than 80 self-storage operators in Hong Kong in September this year, providing more than 500 units of storage space.

Providers are usually located in industrial buildings within easy reach of busy urban transport hubs, such as MTR stations and major bus stops.

"High residential areas as well. Usually these apartment buildings are very closed, so the amount of living space people have is very small," said Luigi La Tona, the SSAA's executive director.

The most popular self-storage rooms range in size from 30 to 50 sq ft. This concurs with data from Kevin She, owner of one of Hong Kong's top self-storage operators, SC Storage, whose advertisements can be seen everywhere from the MTR to truck billboards.

About 10 percent of the company's revenue has gone into marketing, she said. SC Storage now has more than 50 branches across the city in 20 different districts, catering to more than 17,000 customers. Revenue exceeded HK$100 million last year.

From the company's website, it's clear that SC Storage offers more than general storage for normal household purposes. Also gaining popularity among the middle class are wine storage, with thermal control, and bicycle storage.

Hong Kong Storage, another senior player in the industry, offers free moving assistance, allowing customers to put their stuff in storage without having to leave home.

Founder Bobby Chung said the company aims to increase its investment in automation, developing its mobile platform.

Both of these companies are equipped with 24-hour security and accessibility. Storage sizes range from 10 sq ft to more than 100 sq ft, with rentals starting at HK$595 per month.

At SC Storage, 65 percent of customers are household users, mainly middle-aged, married and middle class. Thirty percent are business users, and sometimes 8-9 percent are independent contractors seeking temporary storage for construction tools. Hong Kong Storage calculated that 70 percent of its customers are individual users. Its facilities are usually more than 90 percent full.

Self-storage in Hong Kong: A Growing Niche, a white paper released in August by Colliers International, estimated that about 820,000 households are living in homes without a storage room. If half of them demanded 30 sq ft of storage space each, the market size would be 12.3 million sq ft, compared to an estimated current supply of 2.8 million sq ft.
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Old December 3rd, 2014, 03:12 PM   #1808
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Only six bidders for Lohas Park site
The Standard Excerpt
Tuesday, November 25, 2014





Only six potential investors presented tenders for the latest MTR Corp (0066) site in Tseung Kwan O before bidding closed yesterday despite more relaxed land premium and partnership terms.

The fifth phase of Lohas Park drew bids from Cheung Kong (0001), Henderson Land (0012), Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016), KWah International (0173) and Wheelock Properties, after receiving expressions of interest from about 22 would-be bidders. Observers blamed the weak response on excess home supply in the region.

"The bids were fewer than expected," Midland Surveyors director Alvin Lam Tsz- bun said.

"That's probably because of the risks from the sale of the project in the future, when there are so many flats supplied in the vicinity."

The residential site, which is expected to have 1,600 units, would come at a land premium of HK$2.06 billion, or HK$1,874 per buildable square foot, market sources said. That is 9 percent lower than what was charged at phase four, which went to SHKP.

Bid winners will have to build a public transport facility and share at least 10 percent of development proceeds with the MTRC.
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Old December 7th, 2014, 05:20 AM   #1809
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Unofficial estimates put Stanley car park at HK$50m
6 December 2014
South China Morning Post Excerpt

The Transport Department is still desperately plugging away at its crazy plan to dig up the centre of Stanley and build an underground multi-storey car park. It has said it will take about 40 months to build this edifice under the current bus station and the adjoining car park, but it is reluctant to say how much the project will cost.

Lai See's construction sources believe that digging a 160 sq metre hole would cost a minimum of HK$25 million, using the industry's own estimation tables. However, given the proximity of houses to the hole, there will be a further need for reinforcement and bracing, which could take the cost up to HK$50 million, to prevent them from subsiding or falling into the hole. In addition, there is a large number of fine trees in the car park and the sitting-out garden that will have to be chopped down.

District councillor Paul Zimmerman asked at last month's District Council meeting why no proper traffic impact assessment had been done in view of the time, money and manpower being spent on the project. He could have added the three years of chaos the project would cause. However, according to the Transport Department, there is no need for one.

On the issue of building a car park on Carmel Road behind Stanley Plaza, the department is of the opinion that people will not use it if they want to go to the beach even though it is only a 10-minute walk away. The reasoning here is highly dubious, as indeed is the entire scheme.
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Old December 8th, 2014, 04:16 PM   #1810
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150 hectares of greenery to make way for homes
The Standard Excerpt
Monday, December 08, 2014

Around 1 percent of greenbelts will be transformed into residential sites to boost Hong Kong's tight home supply, development secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said.

In the short-to-medium term, 70 plots of greenery, covering a total of 150 hectares, will be rezoned for residential use, Chan wrote online.

This will provide up to 89,000 units, 70 percent of which will be reserved for public housing.

Chan said Hong Kong is bigger than Singapore or New York but only uses 76 square kilometers for building homes. That compares to 100 sq km in the Lion City and 266 sq km in the Big Apple.

"Hong Kong can neither extend its territory as New York, London and Shanghai can, nor resort to massive land reclamation as in the case of Singapore," Chan said. "But does it mean we are not able to improve our living conditions?"

He said the government is considering tapping into the northern New Territories and Lantau Island in the long run.

Other possibilities include filling the sea off Victoria Harbour and developing caverns and underground space.
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Old December 13th, 2014, 06:39 PM   #1811
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Mainland developers deepen push into HK
13 December 2014
South China Morning Post Excerpt







With their margins squeezed at home, mainland developers are increasingly rushing to buy land in Hong Kong.

State-backed China City Construction (International) has a 90 per cent stake in a venture which won a waterfront site in Sha Tin for a higher-than-expected HK$2.14 billion on Wednesday.

The bid, with Hong Kong developer and construction firm Chun Wo Development Holdings, is seen as deepening a push by mainland developers into the city’s market.

Nicole Wong, CLSA’s regional head of property research, said mainland firms faced single-digit profit margins in the depressed domestic market, exacerbated by fierce competition and growing economic uncertainties.

“Hong Kong will become an alternative market for mainland developers planning expansion,” Wong said.

In Hong Kong, projects not only generated a net profit margin of 13 per cent but also had lower funding costs, she said.

The city’s interest rate is about 3 per cent, against more than 7 per cent on the mainland.
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Old December 14th, 2014, 06:55 AM   #1812
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Civil aviation head says sorry over HQ woes
10 December 2014
South China Morning Post Excerpt



Auditor found that extra space and systems were built without government approval

The head of the Civil Aviation Department has apologised for the first time over scandals surrounding the department’s new headquarters, as the Transport and Housing Bureau warned that disciplinary action could be taken against those involved.

Director General of Civil Aviation Norman Lo Shung-man made the apology at a Legislative Council Public Accounts Committee hearing yesterday after the Audit Commission released a damning report last month that the department had not followed government guidelines to build its new headquarters, together with other criticism.

“As the director general, I need to bear part of the responsibility. The main reason [for the faults] is that the CAD is not a department that is very familiar with construction projects. We also need to deal with our own works, and so I can only fulfil my supervisory responsibility as much as possible,” Lo said as he apologised.

Last month, the audit watchdog said that several years ago the department had received approval for the headquarters with a net operational floor area of 22,775 square metres, of which 3,240 square metres was reserved for future expansion. But the watchdog found that the department built an additional 1,500-square-metre area for future use that was not approved.

The watchdog also revealed that the department had spent HK$67.45 million on security and electronic systems without government approval and had failed to seek permission before building shower facilities in Lo’s office.

Secretary for Transport and Housing Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung admitted in the hearing that there were “defects” in the construction of the new headquarters, which came into use near the airport in December 2012.
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Old December 22nd, 2014, 05:52 PM   #1813
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Heya Star sparkles with all flats sold
The Standard Excerpt
Monday, December 22, 2014




Source : http://www.gohome.com.hk/

Heya Star became the first residential project to sell all flats within a day since the First-hand Sales Ordinance took effect in April.

All 175 flats of the Hong Kong Housing Society's Cheung Sha Wan development were snapped up by Saturday evening, mainly by those who missed out on Heya Delight, a sister project, which was oversubscribed by more than 30 times two weeks ago.

That reflected a solid demand for homes downtown, said the society, adding that two-bedroom units were the most popular at Heya Star.

Robust sales at the two projects had doused demand for resale apartments in the area, said Midland Realty's residential chief Sammy Po Siu-ming.

The society hiked prices at Heya Star by 3 percent from Heya Delight, to an average of HK$13,530 per sellable square foot. Po said that was still 10 to 20 percent below the area's average.
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Old January 4th, 2015, 06:40 PM   #1814
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12/13 - Pinnacle renovations



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Old January 5th, 2015, 07:17 AM   #1815
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Wild start for Tung Chung sales
The Standard Excerpt
Monday, January 05, 2015



Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) priced another 150 units of its Tung Chung project Century Link after selling out the first batch of 300 units.

Ranging from 408 to 645 sellable square feet, the flats costs between HK$4.04 million and HK$6.53 million, or HK$8,743 to HK$10,871 per sellable sq ft after maximum discounts of 10.5 percent.

The developer hopes to sell more than 300 units in the coming weekend, said deputy managing director Victor Lui Ting.

The cheapest one, with 462 sellable sq ft, is on the first floor of Block 3A.

Although the price per sellable sq ft is about 30 percent higher than the secondary market, the low entry price still proves attractive for first-home buyers.

The previous batch of 300 units were sold out in half a day on Saturday, after apparently receiving more than 14,000 checks.

More than 75 percent of sales are for self-use, the developer said.
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Old January 9th, 2015, 08:24 AM   #1816
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MTR site back on rails as 21 firms join race
The Standard Excerpt
Friday, January 09, 2015





The MTR Corp (0066) collected 21 submissions of interest yesterday for its relaunched residential site in Tin Shui Wai.

The submissions signaled a potentially warmer response to the twice-withdrawn plot as the market expects a lower land premium and friendlier terms.

"Bidding for the project will become more attractive as the MTRC will change some of its terms for the relaunch," said Lesly Lam Lik-shan, assistant operations director at mainland developer Vanke.

The Tin Shui Wai parcel is now valued at between HK$1.47 billion and HK$1.96 billion, down from the initial HK$2 billion and HK$2.5 billion. The bidder will likely pay a levy from HK$1,500 to HK$2,000 per buildable square foot.

Cheung Kong Holdings (0001), Henderson Land (0016), New World (0017) and Wheelock (0020) as well as their mainland peers, including Vanke and China Overseas Land (0688), have expressed interest.

With a potential of 1,500 flats, the site is likely to become a high-density project, which surveyors believe will appeal to developers given robust demand for small- and medium-size homes.

Chu Po-lam, Far East's general manager of China real estate, said the developer will look to build two- to three- bedroom units.
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Old January 13th, 2015, 04:57 PM   #1817
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Tower may replace Hong Kong shopping mall to meet demand for Grade A offices
9 January 2015
South China Morning Post Excerpt





A 50-storey office and hotel tower could be built on the site of the low-rise Queensway Plaza shopping mall under a government proposal intended to offer more Grade A office space near the city's prime business district.

The plan would also take advantage of the site's location above Admiralty MTR station, a transport hub that will become even more vital when the new South Island Line and Sha Tin-Central Link open in 2016 and 2020, respectively, the Planning Department says.

Property experts said the government-owned mall was in an area with high demand from office tenants.

The plans are revealed in a paper to the Town Planning Board, which will discuss the matter today. The department suggests turning a 6,220sqm site into a high-rise tower, with offices and a hotel above seven storeys of dining and shopping space. The total floor area of the development would be 93,300sqm.

The development would also cover Admiralty Garden, a small public open area. But new open space would be provided, including a landscape garden that would be connected to existing rooftop open space to form a "green link" to nearby Harcourt Garden and Chater Garden.

The new office space there "will help meet the traditionally strong demand in the Central/ Admiralty area", the department said. It cited a vacancy rate for Grade A offices of 6.2 per cent in the district, lower than the figures of 6.7 per cent for Hong Kong Island and 7.2 per cent citywide.

A feasibility study on the redevelopment was commissioned a year ago and is due to be concluded in the middle of this year.
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Old January 17th, 2015, 03:53 PM   #1818
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Tycoon plans cheap homes for young and old
The Standard Excerpt
Friday, January 16, 2015





Henderson Land (0012) chairman Lee Shau-kee laid out bold plans yesterday to build cheap homes for the elderly and young people.

The elderly would be able to secure new flats for as little as HK$100,000 just over the border in Guangdong, while the tycoon wants to build apartments costing just HK$1 million for youth in Hong Kong.

Lee said local housing prices are about to peak, though the market is unlikely to collapse even if interest rates go up.

To help resolve the SAR's housing problems, Lee wants to join hands with Country Garden (2007) chairman Yang Guoqiang to provide 10,000 flats for seniors in either the Nansha district of Guangzhou or Huizhou city, both of which are less than two hours' drive from Hong Kong.

"Construction cost in the mainland is just about a tenth of that in Hong Kong, which means for every unit built here, we can build 10 in the mainland," Lee said.

Lee said people will have a better chance moving into a flat of their own under his proposed program than by applying for public housing.

"What's the point of fighting so hard for one quota?" said Lee, referring to the overwhelming response to the Housing Authority's latest batch of subsidized flats coming on the market in 2016.

Lee said his top priority is to help the young. He raised the possibility of building 5,000 flats at Tai Hang Sai Estate in Shek Kip Mei for employed local youths. The project is named "housing for entrepreneurial, hard-working youths."

At about HK$1 million each, the units will not require any downpayment. Buyers could choose to pay HK$9,600 monthly at a fixed 3 percent interest rate for 10 years or they could pay HK$5,500 per month for 20 years. "I hope every young person can become a millionaire by owning an affordable home, so that Hong Kong will be a paradise," said Lee.

But such homes cannot be sold in the secondary market.

Lee has not decided how to compensate and relocate the existing occupants of the 1,300 apartments who will be affected if the Shek Kip Mei project is implemented.

The apartments are owned by Hong Kong Settlers Housing Corp Ltd of which Lee is a shareholder and serves on the board.Both types of flats for the young and the old will each measure 300 square feet. Existing tenants at Tai Hang Sai Estate last night demanded that if the project is approved they should get priority rights to buy HOS flats and also be exempted from detailed screening for renting public units.
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Old January 23rd, 2015, 06:56 PM   #1819
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Mainland tycoon snaps up Ho Tung Gardens for $5b
The Standard Excerpt
Thursday, January 22, 2015



The 90-year-old Ho Tung Gardens on the Peak changed hands for HK$5.1 billion yesterday, with buyer Cheung Chung-kiu paying an extra HK$1.2 billion in taxes.

Though the price was 27 percent below the price of HK$7 billion wanted by the owner, the Ho family, the deal marked the territory's single largest private property transaction.

Cheung, making the purchase through Season Glitter, had to stump up the extra HK$1.2 billion for buyer's and double stamp duties that were equivalent to 23.5 percent of the price. The taxes were slapped on corporate buyer to curb capital inflows into the property market.

Cheung - a mainland property magnate who has also been dubbed as Chongqing's Li Ka-shing - is rumored to be the actual buyer.

He controls four locally listed companies, including C C Land Holdings (1224), with interests ranging from mainland property to local infrastructure business.

Prior to Cheung's success in pulling off the deal, other possible purchasers included developer Wheelock Properties and A&F Capital Management.

Built in 1927, the estate covers 124,000 square feet, with a buildable floor area of 62,000 sq ft.

At a post-tax cost of HK$6.3 billion, the buyer paid HK$101,000 per square ft for the historical property. That compares to more than HK$110,000 psf asked by Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) at its Twelve Peaks project, also on the Peak.

The Buildings Department approved in 2010 the construction of 10 houses on the site amid a tug of war between the government, who strived to preserve the site on behalf of the public, and the current owner Ho Min-kwan, who has been pushing for the sale of her family estate.
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Old January 30th, 2015, 10:51 AM   #1820
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City may take shine off office towers
29 January 2015
South China Morning Post Excerpt



Anti-light-pollution guideline for glass-paned housing could apply to commercial buildings

Light pollution in the city looks set to lessen as the government floats the possibility of extending an upcoming cap on the reflectiveness of glass walls in new residential buildings to commercial properties.

The suggestion came as a lawmaker yesterday brought to light complaints over immense glare from two glass-paned towers, the 88-storey International Finance Centre in Central and the 118-storey International Commerce Centre in West Kowloon.

“Some residents [in Yau Tsim Mong] have complained that the glass curtain walls of ICC reflect sunlight into their homes, affecting their daily lives,” James To Kun-sun, of the Democratic Party, told the Legislative Council in a submission.

To said motorists had also complained to him that sunlight reflected from a low angle off the IFC at dusk, making it “hard to keep their eyes open” and threatening road safety.

In response, ICC’s management service office said the glass used was considered to have one of the “highest performance and lowest reflection rates” during the early phases of the building’s design in 2000. “We are exploring various possible mitigating measures to reduce the alleged nuisance and potential impact.”

The Buildings Department, meanwhile, acknowledged it had received complaints over light pollution from the ICC facade, but said it did not keep a record of such statistics.

The department said it had relayed the concerns to ICC developer Sun Hung Kai Properties’ Kai Shing Management Services – which, in turn, had appointed an expert to study mitigating actions. SHKP is also a part-owner of the IFC.

A guideline requiring glazed portions of housing blocks to reflect no more than 20 per cent of daylight was to go into effect in April, the department noted, saying it would consider applying the cap to commercial buildings.
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