Developers pick up Kai Tak's most valuable harbourfront land plot at 27 per cent discount as protests send property market into tailspin

By Lam Ka-sing / | November 26, 2019 11:57 AM SGT
A consortium of Hong Kong developers bought the most valuable parcel of residential land on the runway of the city's former airport for a discount, as six months of the city's worst political crisis sent the local property market into a tailspin.
China Overseas Land & Investment, Henderson Land Development, K. Wah International Holdings and Wharf Development together paid HK$15.95 billion (US$2.04 billion) for Area 4A Site 2 at the former Kai Tak airfield, barely meeting the lower end of a price range expected by valuers, according to data released by the Lands Department.
"The winning price is lower than expected, which means developers are relatively pessimistic about market prospects, fearing the market sentiment and vacancy tax will affect profits, though it can be a large project with sea view," said Thomas Lam, executive director at Knight Frank. "The price is indicative of the trend in land prices. Developers will become more cautious and selective in land buying."
A history of land sales in Hong Kong's former airport at Kai Tak. Source: SCMP alt=A history of land sales in Hong Kong's former airport at Kai Tak. Source: SCMP
Lam added the low price means the government has become more in sync with the market with its reserve price.
Stewart Leung, vice-chairman of Wheelock and Company, Wharf Development's parent, said the price was "reasonable" amid the current market sentiment, and the sizes of the flats that will be offered had not been decided yet.
Land prices will fall along with home prices amid protests, as "economic prospects are uncertain", said James Cheung, executive director at Centaline Surveyors.
"About HK$13,000 per square foot is at the level of plots facing Kwun Tong and Kowloon Bay. This plot facing...