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Property News Weekly Digest
〈Asian Post, July 4, 2020〉Sales of new flats jumped to a 13-month high in June as developers stepped up marketing efforts and offered steeper discounts to woo buyers at a time of escalating US-China tensions and uncertainties over the coronavirus pandemic.

New home sales surged 92 per cent month on month to 2,136 flats in June, short of the 2,314 sold in May 2019, according to Land Registry data yesterday. The value of transactions rose for the fifth consecutive month to HK$70.59 billion, which was also a 13-month high.

But market watchers believe the trend may not be sustained amid growing uncertainties over the impact of the recently introduced national security law.

"The impact of the law on US-China relations and the reaction of the local community has to be observed for some time," said Derek Chan, head of research at Ricacorp Property.

〈Asian Post, July 3, 2020〉Hang Lung Properties — one of Hong Kong’s oldest developers — boasts being one of the key beneficiaries of Hong Kong’s return 23 years ago, harvesting on the closer integration between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland that has fueled the growth of the property sector.

"Following the reunification, Hong Kong and the mainland have forged key pacts that facilitate a heavier flow of people, goods and capital, and this bodes well for the property business," said Hang Lung Properties Chairman Ronnie Chan Chi-chung.

The Pearl River Delta region, for instance, is one of the world’s largest global supply chain bases. The ceaseless flow of goods and services into the region will, in turn, attract professionals and capital, spurring demand for properties in Hong Kong.

"Looking ahead, the central government might come up with further measures to encourage more mainland enterprises to set up shop in Hong Kong and the city’s economy will benefit," Chan noted.

The past 23 years have seen Hang Lung Group’s market capitalization surge from HK$19.1 billion ($2.44 billion) as of June 30, 1997 to HK$26.2 billion by Dec 31 last year — up 37 percent.

〈Global Times, July 2, 2020〉House prices in Australia fell slightly in June amid a new virus outbreak and its deteriorating ties with China, as more Chinese choose not to buy properties there due to an increasingly unfriendly atmosphere.

According to data released by property data provider CoreLogic Inc, property values in major Austra- lian cities dropped 0.8 percent last month, the sharpest decline since February 2019.

"A decline in the range of 0.5-1 per- cent is within expectations, mainly because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Recently, the number of Chinese coming to buy properties in Australia has also dropped for reasons such as Australia raising the threshold for foreign buyers and China tightening supervision over capital flight," Huang Kun, a partner at Melbourne-based property development consultancy firm Mezzanine Property Group, told the Global Times on Thursday

〈China Daily, July 1, 2020〉The average price of HongKong's lived-in homes took a tentative step towards recovery in May, as the city's coronavirus outbreak stabilised and some property buyers were attracted by a flood of easy financing to enter the fray.

An index that measures prices in the secondary market rose 1.9 per cent in May, reversing the 0.1 per cent decline in April, marking the biggest jump in 13 months, according to data released by the Rating and Valuation Department.

That has brought the average price of a second-hand home to a six-month high, a mere 3 per cent shy of the peak in May 2019.

Global central banks are unleashing a record US$6 trillion in low-cost funds this year to check the world economy's plunge into depression, led by a pledge by the United States Federal Reserve to keep its base interest rate at zero through 2022.

〈Business Post, June 20, 2020〉Hong Kong's top property agencies are among the latest batch of more than 33,000 employers claiming subsidy under the coronavirus relief package, as the city's real estate market takes a beating from the pandemic-induced slowdown.

Midland Holdings, the parent of the city's biggest property brokerage Midland Realty, together with seven subsidiaries and affiliate companies had applied for nearly HK$20 million under the Employment Support Scheme, according to the second list published yesterday.

The government announced the bailout package on April 8 for businesses affected by the economic downturn.

Affiliates Hong Kong Properties, Midland IC&I and mortgage brokerage services provider mReferral had also applied for government aid to help save the jobs of nearly 50 employees.