Most expensive Kai Tak project launch, first in two years, meets tepid demand amid market hit by protests and trade war

By Lam Ka-sing / | October 1, 2019 4:32 AM SGT
The most expensive new flats ever to go on the market at Kai Tak, the site of Hong Kong's former international airport, met with a frosty reception on Friday as buyers held back amid a market reeling from months of civil unrest and the effects of the US-China trade war.
By 10pm, just 98 of the 218 units on sale at Upper Riverbank had found owners, a disappointing show when compared to similar project launches.
The first residential project at Kai Tak to be launched in the last two years "is selling relatively slowly", said Sammy Po, chief executive of the residential division at Midland Realty.
The protracted trade stand-off between the world's two largest economies and the political crisis that has engulfed Hong Kong are "still troubling the housing market", he said.
Upper Riverbank is the first Hong Kong project by mainland Chinese developers Longfor Group and KWG Group.
Po said the strong sales seen in recent weeks at another new project, Cullinan West III, were down to the very low prices offered, which had "made potential buyers think they were bargains".
The flats up for grabs on Friday had an average price per square foot after discounts of HK$24,677 (US$3,147), the highest of any project ever launched there.
That is 25 per cent higher than the latest secondary-market price of HK$18,530 (US$2,400) per sq ft, for homes at The Latitude in nearby San Po Kong.
It is up 18 per cent from the last new project launch on the same site, when Wheelock Properties priced Oasis Kai Tak at HK$20,225 (US$2,600) per sq ft in September 2017.
In contrast, Sun Hung Kai Properties managed to sell almost all of its 704 flats earlier this month at Cullinan West III, near protest-hit Sham Shui Po, for about 25 per cent below market price.
Henderson Land Development's One ArtLane in Sai Yung Pun, which received its occupation permit last week, sold none of its 25 flats offered for sale on Friday as it apparently rushed to avoid the looming vacancy...