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Property News Weekly Digest
〈Asian Post, Jan 01, 2021〉Property market faces grim year ahead
Pandemic and recession expected to batter the residential and commercial sectors, with home prices likely to fall as much as 10pc, analysts say

The coronavirus pandemic will continue to weigh on all segments of the city's property market this year. From mass housing to luxury residences, from offices to shops, no major segment will be spared from the recession and rising unemployment, analysts say.

A straw poll of 20 analysts, agencies and developers by the Post on housing prices in 2021 showed six expect them to drop, seven were unsure. Only seven predicted outright gains.

"The uncertain economic and business outlook and weakness in labour market conditions are likely to impact mass residential severely despite very supportive borrowing costs and fundamental demand-supply imbalance," said Harry Tan, head of research for real estate in Asia-Pacific at Nuveen. The firm is among the most pessimistic in the poll by calling a 5 to 10 per cent drop in mass residential prices in 2021.

〈The Standard, Dec 31, 2020〉While many rich Chinese would like to emigrate to escape economic uncertainty and a clampdown on entrepreneurs at home, they are increasingly reluctant to do so - at least in the next few years - because of concern about the pandemic in popular destinations abroad, consultants and businesspeople say.

Many are conflicted and feel under pressure given the changing rules in China and around the world: move now and risk infection, or delay and risk assets being seized by the government in what is perceived to be a campaign against private businesspeople.

It is not uncommon for entrepreneurs, who have benefited from the nation's growth in recent years, to fall foul of the authorities.

The arrest of businessman Sun Dawu in November and a squeeze on the country's tech giants has sent chills through some quarters of the business sector.

"All of a sudden, policies could change in any sector - fintech, financing, energy and entrepreneurship - and private companies might be forced to make adjustments," said Ken Liu, senior executive of a foreign trading firm.

"It requires us to rethink the risks in the future for what we own and how to protect it," he said.

For wealthy Chinese, the aim is to gain residency in a second country to safeguard family and financial assets, while keeping China as their primary place to live and work. But the pandemic has complicated the calculation.

〈China Daily, Dec 30, 2020〉China blocks US sale of Hong Kong property pending approval
China has blocked the United States Consulate in Hong Kong from selling its residential complex in the south of the city to Hang Lung Properties, as it demands that Washington get approval from Beijing.

Hang Lung said it received a letter from the Land Registry through its legal advisers on Dec. 21 which stated the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong was not a commercial entity and that the 37 Shouson Hill Road complex was not an ordinary piece of real estate as such. Sale of the property involved Sino-U.S. foreign affairs and should not be regarded as an ordinary commercial activity, the letter said.

China had also advised the Hong Kong government that if the consulate intended to rent, buy or sell any local real estate, Washington must write in to apply to the central Chinese authorities via its foreign ministry’s commissioner in Hong Kong at least 60 days prior, and shall not proceed with the intended transaction without the written consent of Beijing, according to the letter.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin confirmed the conditions at a regular press briefing on Wednesday, saying that the criteria applied to all U.S. outposts in the country. Any new construction, redevelopment, expansion or repair of U.S. missions in China was subject to approval as well, for which the application must be made in written form in detail, Wang said.

〈Macau Times, Dec 29, 2020〉PROPERTY Centaline anticipates 50% growth in residential sales next year JULIE ZHU CENTALINE Property (Macau) has anticipated that the housing market in Macau in 2021 will perform far better than this year, expecting residential sales to grow by 50%.

The real estate agency reviews the performance of Macau and Hengqin's real estate market at the end of every quarter in addition to forecasting the situation for the next quarter.

Yesterday, the company held another quarterly press conference reviewing Macau's housing market's performance this year, and forecasting the situation for 2021.

During the press conference, John Ng, senior regional manager at Centaline Property (Macau), predicted that, in 2021, there will be an "explosive rebound" in terms of buyer demands for houses in the Macau SAR.

"Stepping into the new year, Macau's housing market will further recover. The number of transactions may be big," Ng predicted.

〈The Standard, Dec 28, 2020〉The SAR government will offer for tender a commercial site in Causeway Bay with a gross floor area of 1.07 million square feet, as well as three residential plots, to accommodate 2,240 units in total during the first quarter of next year.

The plot at Caroline Hill Road in Causeway Bay, which was rezoned after serving as the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department's former headquarters, covers an area of 159,305 sq ft and provides a total gross floor area of 1,076,391 sq ft.

Property consultant Pruden valued the site at HK$14 billion, or HK$13,000 per buildable sq ft.

The site is near the Leighton Centre office building and Hysan Place and Lee Gardens shopping malls, all of which are developed by Hysan Development, the biggest landlord in Causeway Bay.

The other three residential sites are Kai Tak Area 4E Site 2, one in Fan Ling's Kwu Tung in New Territories and one that comprises 9 and 11 Mansfield Road on The Peak.

Kai Tak Area 4E Site 2, which sits on the runway of the former airport, measures approximately 117,900 square feet. With a plot ratio of 5.5, the site has a total floor area of approximately 648,450 sq ft.