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  • Enoch Yiu

Hong Kong protests fail to dampen demand for micro flats as T-Plus project in Tuen Mun sells nearly


  • The development included a dozen units smaller than a parking space, all of which sold for HK$1.73 million (US$222,200)

  • By 9pm on Sunday, all but five of 344 units on sale at T-Plus had found buyers

The allure of a property “bargain” in Hong Kong may be stronger than concerns about the recent social unrest that has rocked the city if sales of tiny, heavily discounted, flats at a major project in Tuen Mun today were anything to go by.

By 9pm on Sunday, 339 of the 344 units – worth over HK$1 billion (US$130 million) – on offer at T-Plus had been bought, making it the largest weekend property sale since the huge rallies against the government’s proposed extradition bill began last month. Sales are set to continue until 11pm and resume on Monday.

The project, jointly developed by Jiayuan International Group and Stan Group, included a dozen so-called micro flats with a price tag of HK$1.73 million (US$222,200), the cheapest new properties to come to market in the city in the last five years. Measuring just 128 square feet, the flats are smaller than a car parking space and are aimed at first-time buyers.

Their dinky size did not put people off; all 12 were snapped up on Sunday. The five unsold units were all larger, two-bedroom flats, agents said.

CK Asset Holdings sold apartments measuring 165 square feet at its Mont Vert project in Tai Po for HK$1.65 million in 2014.

The strong sales on Sunday came after the developers slashed the price by up to 38 per cent from its initial launch in December when it only sold two units. A day earlier sales of larger, more expensive homes at two other developments in the city were met with tepid demand amid generally low market sentiment exacerbated by the recent political turmoil.

Many of the potential buyers on site for the T-Plus sale were young people with their parents. Some said they were looking to buy for their children or grandchildren.

“The solid sales of the micro flat project do not really mean homebuyers like to buy such small flats, but it reflects the fact a lot of homebuyers can only afford these properties,” said Thomas Lam, executive director at Knight Frank.

“First-time buyers can only afford to buy flats at about HK$2 million. Most new flats selling for over HK$4 million are beyond the affordability of most first-time buyers.”

Lam said unless the Hong Kong Monetary Authority was to relax tough mortgage rules, first-time buyers would continue to find it hard to amass the 30 per cent initial deposit to buy their home.

“As the home price keeps on rising, the only solution is to buy the smaller flats,” he said.

The city is the world’s most expensive in which to buy a home, with prices well outside the reach of most young people wanting to get on the property ladder. Many flats in Tuen Mun change hands for around HK$4 million, so the tiny flats priced below HK$2 million are a rarity.

T-Plus is also offering bigger flats of up to 416 square feet for HK$8.4 million. The price for per square foot ranged between HK$13,494 and HK$20,196.

The project only has 20 units priced below HK$2 million. Agents said developers would have an internal sales quota of 30 for staff, meaning employees have priority when it comes to buying the cheaper flats.

The strong sales of T-Plus stood in contrast to Saturday when less than a third of 442 new flats on offer at two other projects – Wing Tai Properties’ OMA OMA in Tuen Mun and China Overseas Land & Investment’s The Regent in Tai Po – were sold.

Wing Tai Properties managed to sell three more units at OMA OMA on Sunday, after just 23 of the 110 flats were bought on Saturday, according to sales agents. China Overseas sold one more flat on Sunday after shifting 111 of 332 units on offer at The Regent the previous day.

Hong Kong’s developers have slowed their sales launches amid concerns of a new battlefront in technology between the US and China, which could hurt the city’s business prospects.

Sentiment had been further dampened since June 9, when an estimated 1 million protesters took to the city’s streets to demonstrate their opposition against a controversial extradition bill, kicking off several weeks of sporadic protest rallies around the city.

Courtesy : South China Morning Post

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