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Property News Weekly Digest
〈The Standard, August 29, 2020〉CK Asset has denied a claim it made the winning bid for US government residential property at Shouson Hill.

The firm was said to have secured six low-rise blocks after a tender closed on July 31. Market reports said there was only one bid, for HK$2.8 billion, and CK Asset had made it.

But a CK Asset executive dismissed that as false news.

The US government has said the result will be disclosed on or before August 30.

Washington had put the six blocks at 37 Shouson Hill Road in Southern District up for sale amid escalating China-US tensions over Hong Kong.

It has held the property since 1948 and recent estimates have put the value at HK$3.2 billion to HK$7.1 billion.

The six blocks have a general have a gross floor area of 47,382 square feet.

They can be demolished and rebuilt with up to 71,097 sq ft of gross floor area.

"The State Department's Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations regularly reviews the US government's overseas real estate holdings as part of its global reinvestment program," a State Department spokesperson said.

〈China Daily, August 29, 2020〉A recent blacklist system announced by China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism aims at imposing restrictions upon mainland Chinese residents when traveling to enlisted "cross- border gambling tourist destinations."The ministry noted in the announcement that there has been a rising number of Chinese outbound tourists in recent years as international travel becomes increasingly convenient, which has contributed to friendly exchange and cooperation between China and the rest of the world, according to a report by Xinhua News Agency.

However, some overseas cities have attracted Chinese tourists with their gambling businesses, disrupting China’s outbound travel market and endangering Chinese citizens’ lives and property, said the ministry.

In establishing the blacklist system, the ministry and several relevant departments will impose travel restrictions upon Chinese citizens heading to overseas cities and scenic spots on the list, according to the announcement.

Reactions within the market are divided, as there is a grey area as to whether Macau will be considered a "cross-border gambling tourist destination."Besides the fact that mainland China, Macau and Hong Kong are considered three different tariff zones, the latter duo, which are Special Administrative Regions, have their own immigration controls separate to those on the mainland, under the "One Country Two Systems" principle.

〈Asian Post, August 28, 2020〉Jiangmen, a city in Guangdong province that is part of Beijing's Greater Bay Area development zone, is attracting interest from both mainland- and Hong Kong-based property developers.

Several companies are looking at the city of 4.6 million people that is about two to three hours from Hong Kong by train or ferry, because of its low land prices and development potential.

Jiangmen sold eight residential land plots totalling 1.67 million square metres in June, the biggest such sale since 2018, according to PIC Research, the research arm of state-owned enterprise China Poly Group.

There is confidence in Jiangmen's potential due to continued optimism about the future direction of the Greater Bay Area, Shanghai-based Shimao Property Holdings said.

〈China Daily, August 27, 2020〉Hongkongers have long enjoyed visiting Taiwan, but since last year, more have been considering making a permanent move.

Immigration specialist Pamir Law Group, along with property search platform and local estate agents, all report increasing inquiries, starting around the middle of 2019.

Nicholas V. Chen, managing partner at Pamir Law Group, a boutique legal and business consulting firm with offices in Taipei and Shanghai, reports a "sharp increase" in visa applications from Hong Kong residents in the second half. He believes this was mainly due to uncertainty about the city's future in the wake of the National Security Law, and the months of social unrest.

"Interest remains high; however actual applications have decreased due to new, stricter requirements established in early 2020," he said.

〈Asian Post, August 27, 2020〉"Employees can continue to work from home forever."Jack Dorsey,CEO of Twitter and Square

"We will allow 75 per cent of employees to work from home by 2025."TCS,largest IT services company in India

Developed economies are predominantly fuelled by the service sector (as against manufacturing), and with rapid technological advancements, it is easy to do more work from home. Does the Covid-19 pandemic spell "the death of the office"? We investigate here.

Offices are one of the key components of commercial real estate. In Asia, the top six Grade-A office stock in the major cities (Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Sydney, Shanghai, Mumbai) have a combined market capitalisation of US$0.8 trillion as at December-2019, based on Morgan Stanley Research estimates.

Many investors have wondered what the new normal for offices will become after the Covid-19 pandemic. The concept of "Work From Home" (WFH) means different things to different people. For employees, it is flexibility; for employers, it is cost saving, and for landlords, it could mean rising vacancy rates and declining rents. One thing is for sure: it will result in more people working from home even after Covid-19 is gone.