China Evergrande's Emerald Bay housing project in Tuen Mun is a sell-out as buyers find low prices, discounts hard to resist

By Lam Ka-sing and Cheryl Arcibal / https://www.scmp.com/property/hong-kong-china/article/3035251/china-evergrandes-emerald-bay-housing-project-tuen-mun?utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=contentexchange&utm_source=EdgeProp | November 26, 2019 11:57 AM SGT
China Evergrande's first project in Hong Kong got off to a flying start, as investors were attracted by the relatively low prices and an easing of mortgage rules, upstaging rivals that saw relatively modest sales last week.
The mainland developer sold all 167 flats on offer at its Emerald Bay project in protest-hit Tuen Mun on Monday, which has 1,982 units, including 22 villas. The results were far better than those seen at CK Asset Holding's Seaside Sonata, Longfor and KWG Group's Upper Riverbank, and Great Eagle Group's Ontolo, as each of them sold less than half of their units last Friday.
Developers had put some 1,070 flats on the market over the past five weekdays.
"The [relatively low] pricing of Emerald Bay was a factor in attracting younger homebuyers," said Sammy Po Siu-ming, chief executive of the residential division at Midland Realty.
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An aerial view of Emerald Bay, which is being constructed in Tuen Mun. Photo: Winson Wong alt=An aerial view of Emerald Bay, which is being constructed in Tuen Mun. Photo: Winson Wong
Buyers were drawn by the starting price of HK$3.18 million (US$405,642) for a 223 square feet flat after discounts, or HK$14,260 per sq ft, with the developer throwing in sweeteners, such as flexible financing plans, stamp duty discounts and furnishing.
Chiu, who only gave his surname and currently living in a Home Ownership Scheme flat, was among those who had queued up to buy a one-bedroom flat at Emerald Bay priced at around HK$4 million.
He said he was attracted by the high loan-to-value mortgage ratio and the stamp duty discounts.
Chiu, in his 30s, added that he was "not worried" about a housing market slump as "there would be [other] policies to boost the market" and suggested that the government cut stamp duty.
Meanwhile, a consortium comprising Kerry Properties, Swire Properties and Sino Land won a tender to develop a prime residential site next to Wong Chuk Hang MTR station, which would require a total investment of up to US$1.5 billion.
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Property consultants expect a selling price for flats above HK$28,000 per sq ft when the project comes on the market.
The project will have two residential towers, offering about 800 homes for total a gross floor area of around 638,305 sq ft.
It is Swire's first residential project since it launched Whitesands, a 28-house development in southern Lantau Island, in October 2015.
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Protesters set barricades on fire in Tuen Mun during a mass rally on October 1, 2019. Hong Kong's property market has been affected by the ongoing protests. Photo: Xiaomei Chen alt=Protesters set barricades on fire in Tuen Mun during a mass rally on October 1, 2019. Hong Kong's property market has been affected by the ongoing protests. Photo: Xiaomei Chen
Separately, 233 transactions were completed at 10 housing estates tracked by Centaline Property Agency from October 1 to 28, a jump of 14.9 per cent compared to September, when the property market was hit hard by the double whammy of anti-government protests and the US-China trade war. This was also the highest monthly lived-in home sales volume recorded in the past six months.
"The buying sentiment has improved after [Hong Kong's leader] Carrie Lam announced measures to relax mortgage rules in her policy address on October 16," said Louis Chan, vice-chairman of Asia-Pacific and chief executive of residential division at Centaline. "We saw sales transactions rise significantly and sales double in some housing estates, such as Laguna City in Lam Tin and Metro City in Tseung Kwan O."
He expected the positive buying sentiment to continue in November.
Under the new policy, homebuyers can avail loans of 90 per cent of the value of the flats worth up to HK$8 million, up from 60 per cent previously. For flats worth up to HK$10 million, buyers can get loans of 80 per cent of the value of the flat, from 50 per cent previously.
The easing in mortgage lending applies only to completed flats, but developers are hoping to capitalise on positive sentiment in the market as they seek to shore up sales. Buyers of incomplete new flats would have lower discounts if they wanted to benefit from the policy.
This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2019 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.
Copyright (c) 2019. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.