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Old December 23rd, 2010, 06:01 PM   #61
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Cheung Kong executive may face inquiry over 'misleading' remarks
26 November 2010
SCMP

A Cheung Kong director has run into trouble after making what he claims were casual remarks online that could have led readers to believe a project his firm was selling had immunity from the government's measures to combat speculation.

The government has asked the Real Estate Developers Association to look into the issue, while a legislator wants the government to freeze the second phase of sales at of the project, Festival City in Tai Wai.

At issue are threads posted by Cheung Kong Real Estate director William Kwok Tze-wa on Sina Weibo last Friday, hours after the government measures were announced.

"Buying Festival City II will not be affected by the new government measures. 12 o'clock is coming soon. Quick quick quick ... The world of speculation is welcoming you," the posts said.

Kwok also wrote: "If Hong Kong people do not buy, those rich people from the mainland should buy. And they should buy those of high quality. Merely by the appreciation of yuan, one can make big money. Hong Kong's real estate [prices] can soar by 40 per cent in the future."

Weibo, literally meaning miniblog, is China's version of Twitter. The threads could not be found on the site yesterday.

Democratic Party legislator Lee Wing-tat, also chairman of the Legislative Council's housing panel, said Kwok's remarks amounted to misleading customers and urged the government to launch an investigation into the matter.

Lee also said the sale of Festival City II should be stopped.

The Transport and Housing Bureau has written to the Real Estate Developers Association to express its concern and asked the organisation to follow up the case.

Association deputy chairman Stewart Leung Chi-kin said its first step would be to ask Cheung Kong for an explanation.

Kwok yesterday declined say on whether he thought his remarks could be misleading.

He said: "I only wanted to share my personal thoughts on the Web. I could not have known it would stir up so much discussion on the market."

He said his company's legal department would also be following up the issue.

Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah last Friday announced measures to cool the red-hot property market - levying n additional stamp duty of up to 15 per cent for flats sold within two years of purchase and raising the down payments for mortgages. The measures took effect on Saturday.

Festival City is a joint project between Cheung Kong and the MTR Corporation.

More than 200 of the 335 flats put up for sale in its second phase were sold on Friday. But over the weekend, only a further nine flats were sold.

The marketing strategy of the development has also drawn criticism. Its television commercials, other advertisements and sales brochure emphasise it is a "rare luxury site [with] links [to] Kowloon Tong". The site is in Tai Wai, one stop away by MTR.

A property agent, who declined to be named, said: "The note posted by Kwok has no big impact on the sale of Festival City II. Most of the subscribers of his [blog] are property agents.

"If his note had an impact, the sale would have been much better."
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Old March 2nd, 2011, 02:53 PM   #62
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Cheung Kong flats spree amid mortgage hike talk
Hong Kong Standard
Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Cheung Kong (Holdings) (0001) has launched more than 300 flats after selling 250 homes in Tai Wai at the weekend.

After 170 flats in Festival City II on Monday, the Li Ka-shing flagship made available another 132 yesterday - at HK$7,426 to HK$8,900 per square foot.

Cheung Kong real estate director William Kwok Chi-wai expects more launches in the next two weeks.

He said around 90 percent of buyers chose the second mortgage payment option, and only around 10 percent are from the mainland or overseas. Around 80 percent are end users.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong banks have reportedly raised mortgage interest rates for buying flats under company names.

The rate based on the Hong Kong interbank offered rate is now said to be HIBOR plus 1.2 percent, up from HIBOR plus 0.7 percent.

The move aims to cut lenders' risk.

HSBC (0005) and Bank of East Asia (0023), however, said they are not aware of such adjustments.

"There is no plan to change the rates," HSBC Hong Kong chief executive Mark McCombe said.

"But ... it's a fluid situation and we don't make statements that we cannot change over a period of time. We will look at the market situation."

HSBC's rate setting committee monitors mortgage demand and the lender's market share to reach a decision, he added.

Meanwhile, Hang Seng Bank (0011) chief executive Margaret Leung Ko May-yee is confident of maintaining an edge in the mortgage business, even though the bank is retreating from the HIBOR-based business.

"Although no bank has scrapped its HIBOR-based mortgage, it is more difficult for buyers to find low rates with the current high demand," Leung said.

She said loan growth at Hang Seng was 37 percent last year, compared to a market average of 28 percent, according to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.

"There is a need to restructure the asset combination of the bank. That's why we put more of our focus on mortgage rates based on the preferential rate instead of the HIBOR," Leung said.
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 05:40 PM   #63
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Credit curbs force Cheung Kong to offer 2nd mortgage to flat buyers
25 February 2011
South China Morning Post

Tighter credit conditions have forced Cheung Kong (Holdings) to provide a 20 per cent second mortgage for buyers of its Tai Wai housing project and interest and principal repayment waiver for the first two years.

The developer's special payment scheme comes three months after the Hong Kong Monetary Authority urged banks to lower their loan-to-valuation ratios for flats priced more than HK$8 million, in an attempt to curb speculation.

Loan to valuation is the loan as a percentage of the property price that a buyer can get from a bank.

Yesterday, Cheung Kong announced the price list for 108 units at its Festival City phase two development in Tai Wai. The prices ranged from HK$7.7 million to HK$10.5 million. More than 80 per cent of the units are priced over HK$8 million.

From November, the maximum mortgage ratio for properties priced between HK$8 million and HK$12 million was cut from 70 to 60 per cent. The amounts banks could lend to buyers of homes worth HK$12 million or more was cut from 60 per cent to 50 per cent of the price.

Cheung Kong's financial arm, AMTD Strategic Capital, has now started offering a special payment scheme called Easy Go to provide financing for potential buyers. It includes a second mortgage of 20 per cent on top of the banks' 60 per cent loan ceiling for flats worth more than HK$8 million.

Buyers who opt for this will be charged an interest rate of 2.5 per cent below prime, or 2.75 per cent per year, for 20 years. The best lending rate stands at 5.25 per cent.

"It is just like offering a bridging loan for buyers in a bid to facilitate purchase. The special payment scheme allows buyers to defer the repayment of the second mortgage for two years," said Sammy Po, a director of Midland Realty, New Territories.
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Old June 29th, 2011, 04:53 AM   #64
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Row over Cheung Kong chief's tax blog escalates
30 April 2011
South China Morning Post

A powerful developers' group and the government are at loggerheads over Cheung Kong Real Estate director William Kwok Tze-wai's comment that a measure to curb property speculation would not dampen buyer sentiment.

The Real Estate Developers' Association says it is up to the government to take action if it believes Kwok's comments were misleading.

The government expressed disappointment at the association's handling of the incident, and criticised Kwok for "making an improper statement without legal advice".

The row dates back to November, when the government announced new measures to curb speculative home-buying. It said sales of homes within two years of their purchase would incur additional stamp duty of up to 15 per cent of the sale price, on top of normal stamp duty, which is capped at 4.25 per cent. The measure took effect on November 20, a day after the announcement.

Hours after the announcement, Kwok wrote on his internet blog that "Buying Festival City II will not be affected by the new government measures".

His statement soon drew criticism that it could mislead prospective homebuyers to believe the Cheung Kong housing estate in Tai Wai to which he referred was immune from the proposed special stamp duty. On Wednesday, the Transport and Housing Bureau published in full its correspondence with the association on the matter.

The letters, made public on the Legco website, show the association rejected repeated government requests to give its view on whether Kwok's comment was appropriate.

Yesterday, the association released its latest letter to the bureau, dated Wednesday, in which it hit back strongly at the government's expression of "disappointment".

The letter said: "Please note that the REDA cannot be expected to express an opinion, let alone adjudicate, on a dispute between a developer and the administration on the interpretation of a proposed piece of legislation."

It noted that the additional stamp duty was imposed before a legislative amendment to enact it was passed by the Legislative Council.

Association secretary general Louis Loong Hon-biu said its compliance committee had concluded that Kwok's remark had not breached association guidelines.

"Whether a remark is appropriate is totally subjective," Loong said.

"If the government finds Mr Kwok's comments misleading, the government should take action. If the government needs information from us, we will welcome its request."

The bureau rebutted Loong's argument.

"We are disappointed at the manner in which the REDA has handled the case. We considered that it is not appropriate for a senior executive of a development company like Mr William Kwok to have made such a statement on November 19, 2010, which appears to encourage people to make a last-minute rush to buy a flat without proper legal advice," a bureau spokesman said.
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Old August 20th, 2011, 07:18 AM   #65
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大圍 名城 第三期 Festival City Phase 3, Tai Wai (2011-08)


bigger version here: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/57602055
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Old August 22nd, 2011, 10:17 AM   #66
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Old November 29th, 2011, 02:24 PM   #67
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Developers keep their smiles despite outlook
The Standard
Thursday, November 24, 2011

Developers are upbeat despite Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah's forecast of a soft landing for the property market and hint that prices may fall further.

That was the outlook as Cheung Kong (Holdings) (0001) yesterday released a first batch of 65 flats at Festival City 3 in Tai Wai at an average price of HK$8,109 per square foot, and sales begin Saturday.

"The market is on an uptrend," said executive director Justin Chiu Kwok-hung. "The Hong Kong dollar is depreciating along with the US dollar. In a low interest rate environment, people would prefer to invest in something concrete, like property."

The first batch of flats may bring in around HK$600 million for Cheung Kong. It aims to sell 400 out of 1,536 flats - generating as much as HK$3 billion - before the end of the year.

Total property sales this year have brought in HK$30 billion for the developer.

Also on prospects, Henderson Land (0012) executive director Augustine Wong Ho-ming said the market may slow further, but he is cautiously optimistic.

Elsewhere in the sector, Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) has put on the market 16 more flats at The Wings in Tseung Kwan O at an average HK$6,988 psf.

Meanwhile, in an effort to boost liquidity, banks are reported to have stopped offering mortgages that can only be drawn down next year. Market sources said this could ease liquidity pressure.

And banks have reportedly cut incentives to agencies.

HSBC (0005) is said to have shaved commissions from 0.3 percent to only 0.15 percent. A commission of 0.2 percent is offered to mortgage referrals of more than HK$200 million.

Citibank has also acted, cutting its HIBOR-based mortgage commission to 0.25 percent.
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Old December 7th, 2011, 07:13 PM   #68
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Victor Li bullish on flats despite woes
The Standard
Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Cheung Kong (Holdings) (0001) vice chairman Victor Li Tzar-kuoi said he remains bullish on the property market amid lingering inflationary pressure.

Noting that some currencies have been depreciating at a faster pace than the increase in property prices, Li said: "Everything is getting more expensive in money terms."

Homes, building materials and even raisin buns are becoming costlier.

Late last month, executive director Justin Chiu Kwok-hung said the Hong Kong dollar is depreciating along with the US dollar and people would prefer to invest in property.

Cheung Kong, however, is rushing to sell homes at its Festival City project in Tai Wai by offering competitively priced second mortgages and lower prices for flats.

The developer launched 58 flats at Festival City 3, pricing them at HK$7,424 per square foot, below the HK$8,666 psf price of the last batch.

It is also providing second mortgages with an interest rate of prime minus 2.5percent, or 2.75percent, versus mortgages of 3.51percent from commercial banks.

The second mortgage is capped at 20percent of the unit value.

Meanwhile, Jones Lang LaSalle said property deals will slow next year. Transactions in the residential market fell 37percent in the first 11 months to 80,000. An average 9,200 deals a month occurred in the first half, but they fell to an average 5,000 a month in the second half.

But the consultancy does not see a big correction in property prices.

Managing director Joseph Tsang Hon-ping said new supply will be tight "in the next 12-24 months."

He expects prices of small and medium units to drop by 15 percent next year.
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Old February 14th, 2012, 06:34 AM   #69
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Cheung Kong to beef up sales plan for Festival City 3
The Standard
Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cheung Kong (Holdings) (0001) plans to reveal prices of more flats at Festival City 3 this week as market sentiment improves.

The latest batch of flats in tower 1 and 2 of the Tai Wai project will consist of 776 units, sized between 884 and 1,264 square feet.

Flats are generally available for sale 72 hours after prices are made public. The developer earlier hinted the flats will cost between HK$9,500 and HK$11,000 per sq ft. About 3,000 enquiries have been received since last week, it said.

The developer is also in talks with eight banks to offer buyers a second mortgage of up to 20 percent of the property price. The borrowing rate is likely to range from prime minus 2.25 to 2.75 percent, or 2.5 to 3 percent. It is now in talks with eight lenders.

Meanwhile, the value of new mortgage loans drawn down this year may not reach last year's level as a result of measures restricting the loan to value ratio and bank stress tests, said Sharmaine Lau Yuen-yuen, chief economic analyst of mReferral.

In 2011, new loans drawn down reached HK$220 billion. "The mortgage market has shrunk because of the drop in transactions. Banks will have to maintain their rates at 2.3 to 3 percent if they want to strive for some market share," Lau said, adding that rates at this level are rather low versus the normal range at 3 to 4 percent.

Last week Bank of China (Hong Kong) (2388) and HSBC (0005) were reported to have cut their prime-based rate to 2.225 percent and 2.25 percent, respectively.

Lau also said the value of outstanding loans in December dropped for the first time since March 2009.

This means repayment of loans has outpaced the increase in new loans, signifying that the mortgage market has become healthier and stable, she said.
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Old February 17th, 2012, 09:20 PM   #70
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Bubbling again
The Standard
Thursday, February 16, 2012

Residential sales are set for a rebound following a double-digit tumble last month. Developers have been releasing more apartments and some owners have begun to raise their asking prices.

As had been the norm, however, there were hardly any deals involving new flats or secondhand ones during the holiday break in January.

But during the past weekend, secondary market deals increased compared with previous weekends. As the holiday ended, more developers released new flats at much higher prices.

"Usually before and after the holidays, such as Christmas and Lunar New Year, people tend to travel on vacation. The market goes quiet compared with other times," said Midland Realty chief analyst Buggle Lau Ka-fai. Activity usually gains traction after the holidays, perhaps also as a result of salary bonuses, he added.

The policy address, budget and announcements by governments officials responsible for land policy have also helped to clear up uncertainties.

"Property prices and transactions started to slide in the middle of last year. Many buyers and owners stayed on the sidelines," Lau said.

"The revival of the Home Ownership Scheme announced in the policy address in October and the influx of new homes kept buyers guessing about whether the government will introduce any new measures. These factors delayed the release of purchasing power for more than eight months."

Buyers feel it may be safe to enter the market now prices have slumped to early 2010 levels, he said.

According to Midland Realty, transactions at the 10 benchmark residential projects reached their highest in more than a year to 65 deals the past weekend. The week prior to that, there were 33 deals.

At Caribbean Coast in Tung Chung, three would-be buyers bid for the same flat, according to a realtor. "The owner of the seaview flat asked for HK$4.59 million and ended up selling it for HK$4.65 million," said Ricacorp Properties manager Roy Kwan.

Other owners have raised asking prices.

"In Kornhill in Quarry Bay, a homeowner instantly lifted the asking price to HK$5 million from HK$4.88 million, after getting an offer from a potential buyer. In the district about 5 percent of buyers have withdrawn their flats from the market, waiting for the market to improve further," said Hong Kong Property senior sales manager Rick Wan.

Developers are also taking advantage of the improved sentiment.

At least three new projects offering a combined 885 flats are expected to reveal prices this week. Sales usually start 72 hours after prices are made public.

Cheung Kong (Holdings) (0001) aims to release the first batch of flats in towers 1 and 2 of Festival City 3 in Tai Wai for 5-10 percent above the prices for flats in the other towers. That means the new flats are likely to cost between HK$9,500 and HK$11,000 per square foot.

Wheelock & Co (0020) is also planning to release flats at Lexington Hill in Sai Wan, for between HK$11,000 and HK$15,000 psf. The project will provide 103 flats, ranging from 750 to 1,000 sq ft.

Henderson Land (0012) said it will launch 16 detached houses at La Verte in Fan Ling. These houses will cost HK$10,000 psf.

Edward Yiu Chung-yim, assistant professor at the University of Hong Kong's department of real estate and construction, said external factors such as the US Federal Reserve's decision to maintain low interest rates until 2014 weighed favorably on the release of purchasing power.

"The uptrend is likely to continue into next month, as many buyers will follow the trend. However, as there are a few important European debt issues to be settled in March, market confidence may be shaken again," Yiu said.
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Old July 18th, 2012, 08:50 PM   #71
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Fares hike hint even as MTRC profit soars
The Standard
Friday, March 09, 2012

MTR Corp (0066) has hinted at another fare hike, despite booking record high profits last year.

In his first press conference as chief executive officer, Jay Walder said fare adjustments will take place later in the year.

He did not specify whether prices will go up or down, but fares will be reviewed "according to the fare adjustment mechanism" by which fares are set by inflation and wages.

The MTRC announced record high underlying profit, excluding property re-evaluation, of HK$10.47 billion, up 20.9 percent for the year ended December 31 and beating market estimates of HK$9.63 billion. Net income was up 22 percent to HK$14.72 billion, or HK$2.55 per share. Total revenue rose 13.2 percent to HK$33.4 billion.

Fare revenue in Hong Kong from rail and bus services was HK$13.35 billion, up 7.2 percent from 2010. MTRC carried 1.68 billion rail and bus passengers, up 5.1 percent year on year.

The company will spend HK$1 billion to improve station facilities. Walder said four trains will also be purchased.

He also plans to expand the MTRC's presence overseas, including tendering to operate two railways in the UK.

Profit from property development was HK$4.93 billion, mainly from sales at Festival City and rentals from Popcorn, a shopping mall in Tseung Kwan O.

As of December, 73 percent of the 4,264 units in the three phases of Festival City had been sold. Another 42 units in Palazzo in Fo Tan and 34 units in Lake Silver at Wu Kai Sha had also been sold.

Festival City was jointly developed with Cheung Kong (Holdings) (0001), while Sino Land (0083) is the partner for Palazzo and Lake Silver. This year, MTRC plans to sell four residential projects in Tai Wai, Tin Shui Wai, Long Ping West and Long Ping East through public tenders. The tender for the Bayside project in Tsuen Wan, withdrawn earlier this year, will be relaunched in the second half.


A final dividend of 51 HK cents was proposed. The shares rose 0.74 percent to HK$27.45 yesterday.
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Old December 31st, 2012, 04:59 PM   #72
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Car space frenzy roars ahead
The Standard Excerpt
Monday, November 26, 2012

Speculators bagged as much as HK$300,000 profit per car park space at Festival City in Tai Wai, selling the slots within a day or two of buying them.

Cheung Kong Holdings (0001), the project's developer, sold a total of 514 car park slots at prices ranging from HK$980,000 to HK$1.3 million on Saturday, netting HK$600 million.

Within 24 hours, at least 40 buyers had resold their slots for profits ranging between HK$30,000 and HK$300,000.

By last night, another 20 buyers had sold their slots at prices ranging from HK$180,000 to HK$230,000 higher than they had paid barely 48 hours earlier.

Cheung Kong stressed on Saturday that only residents of Festival City were eligible to buy the car park slots.

Still, around 30 slots remain on the market, agents said. "The asking price for a parking space purchased for HK$1.3 million is now HK$1.6 million," said Adrian Ng Cheuk-yin, an account manager at Festival Home Property Agency.

Also, a total of 20 car parking spaces - sold on Saturday - have already been rented out at HK$3,800 to HK$4,700 per month, fetching a yield of about 4 percent, compared with HK$3,500 sought by Cheung Kong earlier.

About 30 spaces, asking as much as HK$5,000 per month, are still available for rent.

Most banks currently offer a mortgage of up to 50 percent to buy a parking space, with the repayment period of up to 20 years. Some banks, however, do not offer such loans.

But the 50 percent is just a reference guideline from the Hong Kon
g Monetary Authority.

The regulator said earlier that no specific rules are needed for loans to buy car park slots because they will not affect people's livelihood and most banks stick to lending half of the slot's value, which is not that risky.

Professor Eddie Hui Chi-man, a member of the government's Long-term Housing Strategy Steering Committee, said the frenzy over car parking spaces is growing fast especially after the government placed tightening measures on the residential market.

This has caused speculators to switch to investing in the non-residential market, especially parking spaces, the cost of which is relatively modest.

Edward Yiu Chung-yim, former University of Hong Kong assistant professor of real estate and construction, believes the sudden jump in parking space transactions is mainly caused by developers.

Property firms released a significant number of slots on the market after the government's latest cooling measures, Yiu said.

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