Hong Kong realtors make hay as mainland demand surges

08:23, June 03, 2010      

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China's tightened real estate policies are encouraging mainland multimillionaires to snap up luxury apartments in Hong Kong, though some Hong Kong investors are finding mainland property prices more competitive.

Statistics from Centaline Group show that mainland buyers now account for nearly 40 percent in new residential apartment transactions in Hong Kong. The figure was around 20 percent before mid-March.

Cherrie Lai, head of residential property at Hong Kong Land Holding Ltd, confirmed that there had been a recent surge in mainland buyers, with most coming from Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou.

Mainland buyers were among those who snapped up more than 90 percent of the units on the first day of sale at Serenade, a high-end project in Hong Kong, where apartments cost more than HK$70 million.

"Quite a number of mainland buyers have bought luxury properties in Hong Kong in order to move there, as the minimum requirement for migration to Hong Kong is HK$6.5 million," said Edmund Ho, managing director of real estate adviser DTZ North China.

"Moreover, the competitive lending rate and sound social care services in Hong Kong are pretty attractive for investors."

While growing numbers of mainlanders are buying luxury apartments in Hong Kong, Hong Kong investors are turning their attention to the mainland's high-end properties, believing that the recent slew of tightening policies could bring them opportunities.

According to Liu Haibo, marketing chief of Xanadu, a high-end residential project next to the CCTV's new building in Beijing's central business district (CBD), 30 apartments were sold just one week after they went on the market last month, and quite a few of the buyers were from Hong Kong.

"Those investors from Hong Kong believe a reasonable price at that location could be 70,000 yuan to 100,000 yuan per square meter, and there is still price growth potential for high-end residential projects at Beijing's core CBD area," said Liu. The sale price of Xanadu hovers around 50,000 yuan per sq m.

Gao Guoping, president of Beijing Gaoce Real Estate Consulting Co, said the impact of the recent policies on high-end projects would be limited as those buyers will not have a problem with increased down payments and mortgage rates.

According to Feng Xiang-rong, marketing chief of Chang'an Ave - a high-end residential project with an average unit sales price of 80,000 yuan per sq m - nearly 90 percent of purchases were made with one-off payments.

"Around 20 percent of the buyers at Chang'an Ave are from Hong Kong and Macao. Besides offering a decent return on their investment, they also regard such apartments as an important networking place," said Feng.

Source: China Daily


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