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Property News Weekly Digest
〈Business Times, Jan 16, 2021〉Hongkongers moving to Britain under the UK’s new visa arrangement could cause a capital outflow of HK$280.2 billion (US$36 billion) this year from the financial center, according to an estimate by the Bank of America.

From Jan. 30, about three million Hongkongers eligible for the British National (Overseas) passport can apply for the new visa to stay and work in Britain for five years, then apply for full citizenship.

Britain first announced the move in July last year, about a month after Beijing imposed a draconian national security law in Hong Kong.

The new visa could see 153,300 Hongkongers move to settle in Britain this year, according to an estimate by the British Home Office.

The Bank of America based its estimate on departing Hongkongers each selling a flat for HK$7.53 million – the average price of a Kowloon property – and withdrawing HK$217,000 in retirement savings from their Mandatory Provident Fund. That would cause an outflow of HK$280.2 billion from the city this year, the bank said.

The number of immigrants from Hong Kong is expected to fall over the next four years, the U.K. Home Office said. But that could still trigger a capital outflow of HK$588 million from the city during the period, the bank said.

〈Asian Post, Jan 15, 2021〉China’s previous richest man, Wang Jianlin, has formed a new investment company with his son, Wang Sicong, who is known as a party-loving playboy with few distinctions as a businessman.

The news has sparked speculation among mainland business observers that Wang senior is bailing out his son’s sinking business career.

The Wangs established Wanda Industry Investment on Thursday with Wang senior as its head and the son as a board director, according to the mainland online company registry platform Qichacha.

The new company was registered with a capital of 100 million yuan (US$15.44 million) and will focus on investment, financial consultancy and corporate management services. Wang senior owns 98% of its shares through a company while his son has the remaining 2% shares.

Wang Sicong resigned on Friday from the e-sport and entertainment company Shanghai Project Banana, which he founded in 2015, after selling his 9.5% stake. The company has been on a regulators’ watch list in recent years, over irregularities.

〈China Daily, Jan 14, 2021〉Health officials suspect outbreak in Kwai Chung estate caused by vertical transmission of virus

Health authorities ordered the evacuation of five residential buildings yesterday as Covid-19 outbreaks worsened in two districts, with vertical transmission of the virus suspected at one public housing block in Kwai Chung.

The latest evacuation, of Yan Shek House in Shek Yam Estate, was launched after six residents from three flats facing the same direction tested positive for the virus. Overall, the city recorded 29 new cases yesterday, the lowest since January 6, when 25 infections were logged.

Since the start of the fourth wave of infections, at least three other residential buildings have been hit by a similar transmission route, which triggered evacuations and the quarantine of residents.

The evacuation in Kwai Chung was announced after a leading government pandemic adviser, Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, inspected the sewage system of Yan Shek House, where four people from one home and another resident from a different flat were confirmed infected.

〈The Standard, Jan 13, 2021〉As many as 400 new homes will be available for sale soon with the majority of them from the Monaco tower in Kai Tak and the LP 10 tower in Lohas Park.

Wheelock Properties will launch first-round sales for Monaco on Sunday, involving 145 units. With 2,200 checks received, the 145 homes are 14 times oversubscribed.

The 145 units ranged from 280 sq ft to 762 sq ft and Wheelock expects to cash in HK$1.6-2 billion from the first-round sales.

Monaco released the third price list, with an average selling price of HK$24,802 per square foot after discounts. It was 9.4 percent higher than the first batch average selling price of HK$22,669 per sq ft.

Meanwhile, Nan Fung Group released the first price list of LP10 in Lohas Park, involving 179 units, with an average selling price of HK$15,888 per sq ft, 30 percent cheaper than the first batch of Monaco.

〈The Standard, Jan 12, 2021〉The government's land sales revenue last year plunged by 65 percent year on year amid the pandemic. Despite a wait-and-see atmosphere looming over the property market due to the pandemic, the government launched 13 lots for sale and sold 11 of them, including 10 residential lots and one industrial.

That was a year-on-year decrease of about 15 percent compared with 13 plots sold in 2019. The Mansfield Road residential site on The Peak was the only tender that surpassed the HK$10 billion mark.

Including land premiums received from private, MTR and Urban Renewal Authority projects, the government's annual land sales revenue for the year was about HK$52.13 billion - a sharp drop of about 65 percent from the HK$148.6 billion recorded in 2019.

The unsuccessful tenders of two commercial sites were a major cause behind the plunge in land sales revenue.