Kingswood tops Hong Kong's most actively traded address list of 2019 as owners cut prices ahead of biggest home sales in 10 years

By Sandy Li sandy.li@scmp.com / https://www.scmp.com/business/article/3043646/kingswood-tops-hong-kongs-most-actively-traded-address-2019-owners-cut?utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=contentexchange&utm_source=EdgeProp | January 2, 2020 1:14 PM SGT
Kingswood Villas, one of Hong Kong's largest housing communities, was the city's most actively traded address for the second consecutive year, as owners slashed prices ahead of a 2020 launch of the first major property project to come to market in the area in the past decade.
As many as 531 homes changed hands at Kingswood Villas as of December 23, about 3.3 per cent of the 15,920 units in the 58 residential blocks there, according to data by Midland Realty. Prices have dropped to a 10-month low of below HK$10,000 (US$1,284) per square foot in some units, where a 550-sq ft flat at the Kenswood Court building sold for HK$5 million on December 20, while a 548-sq ft unit at Locwood Court changed hands at HK$5.5 million, according to Centaline's sales data.
"Prices are considered [to be] the lowest among major housing estates in Hong Kong," said Derek Chan, head of research at Ricacorp Properties.
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The activity at Kingswood Villas, home to almost 40,000 residents according to Hong Kong's 2016 census, shows how the residential property market is trying to find its footing after the city's seven-month long political crisis sapped appetite for long-term investments.
Property owners at the community, developed by Cheung Kong Holdings from 1991 to 1999, are also trying to get ahead of the imminent launch of Sun Hung Kai Properties' Wetland Seasons Park project, which will add 710 apartments to the housing supply in Tin Shui Wai.
Wetland Seasons Park, due for completion in March 2021, is priced at HK$11,388 per sq ft after an 18 per cent discount, Sun Hung Kai (SHKP) said this week in announcing the catalogue price for the first batch of 142 units. That prices the new project at a 9 per cent premium to the average transaction price of the 27-year-old Kingswood Villas.
Modified Bedroom at Wetland Seasons Park in Tin Shui Wai. Photo: Handout alt=Modified Bedroom at Wetland Seasons Park in Tin Shui Wai. Photo: Handout
In response, Kingswood Villas' owners cut their prices by between 1 per cent and 3 per cent, said Victor Ng, Centaline Property Agencies' sales manager at the Tin Shui Wai district.
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"Ninety per cent of our clients have shifted their interest to the soon-to-be launched new project, instead of looking for used flats in the area," he said. "Sales in the secondary market in Tin Shui Wai will be frozen as [Wetland Seasons] will be the district's first large-scale new project in the past 10 years built by a major developer. It will attract both end users and investors from Kowloon and Hong Kong Island as well."
Transactions were active elsewhere in Hong Kong's secondary market as well. City One Sha Tin recorded 375 deals, moving up to become the second-most transacted housing estate, ahead of the 336 contracts at Mei Foo Sun Chuen in Kowloon in third place.
Aerial drone view of the Kingswood Villas' Kenswood Court complex in Tin Shui Wai, developed by the Cheung Kong Group. alt=Aerial drone view of the Kingswood Villas' Kenswood Court complex in Tin Shui Wai, developed by the Cheung Kong Group.
Fewer buyers emerged at Discovery Bay on Lantau Island " a favourite of many expatriate families " where the number of transactions plunged 22 per cent to 302, dropping to fourth position this year from second place in 2018. Taikoo Shing was in fifth place, with 290 deals done, up 3.8 per cent from last year.
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Sales activity slowed down during the second half of 2019, as Hong Kong's political protests and street rallies deterred property buyers from committing to large investments, said Ricacorp's Chan.
Tin Shui Wai, which was developed in the 1980s as Hong Kong's eighth new township to divert population from the overcrowded Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, was also the scene of several clashes between police and anti-government protesters. A fight broke out on November 20 at the Tin Shui Wai station, forcing the subway operator to close it, while some protesters obstructed carriage doors, causing delays on the Kwun Tong, Tsuen Wan, Tseung Kwan O and Island lines.
"The market will [become] active again if Wetland Seasons Park generates strong response when it goes on sale next month," he said. The period after the Lunar New Year celebrations that begin on January 25 "is the residential property industry's traditional peak season."
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 © 2020 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.
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