Sun Hung Kai, MTR defer sale of 1,172-flat Cullinan West III project as Hong Kong's protest rallies take their toll on market mood

By Sandy Li sandy.li@scmp.com / https://www.scmp.com/business/article/3022322/sun-hung-kai-mtr-defer-sale-1172-flat-cullinan-west-iii-project-hong-kongs?utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=contentexchange&utm_source=EdgeProp | August 21, 2019 5:49 PM SGT
Hong Kong's biggest residential property developer is postponing the sale of its next mega project, in the latest sign that nine weeks of public unrest and almost daily clashes between police with protesters are taking an ever-bigger toll on consumer sentiment.
Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP) and MTR Corporation would offer the 1,172 flats at the Cullinan West III project atop the Nam Cheong subway station upon their completion, said David Tang, the property director of the project's joint developer MTR. The project, which is expected to complete construction at the end of 2019, was initially scheduled for a launch in August.
"We intend to sell the units when it is due for completion," Tang said after during a Friday press briefing after MTR posted a 468 per cent jump in interim profit from property sales. "Buying a property may not be the [first] consideration on most people's minds at a time when the city is facing such challenges."
Hong Kong's economic growth, which shrank in the second quarter from the first, had been in a downbeat mood this year, squeezed as it has been by the year-long trade war between the United States and China. Sentiments took a turn for the worse after an estimated 1 million people marched on the streets on June 9 to protest against a controversial extradition bill.
Even though the unpopular legislation was declared "dead" by the government, it continued to draw protest rallies, which have deteriorated into violent clashes everyday, forcing the police to resort to tear gas and rubber bullets to repel protesters who laid siege to police stations, public space and shopping centres.
Public unrest had spilled over to property sales, as new launches in recent weekends had flopped, while transactions of lived-in homes slowed. To move unsold property off their books, developers such as Billion Development had to offer 10-per cent discounts on their projects, compared with prevailing market prices in surrounding neighbourhoods.
Sales of new flats dropped 65 per cent in June to 1,111 transactions, the lowest since January, according to Midland Realty. Although...