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Property News Weekly Digest
〈China Daily, Nov 20, 2021〉Debt-stricken China Evergrande Group is asking sales agents to sell more flats at one of its Hong Kong projects so it can pay them the commission it owes them for properties they previously sold.

The Shenzhen-based developer is offering to pay the outstanding commission fees owed on two flats for every additional one of similar value agents sell at its Emerald Bay project in Tuen Mun, according to notes from a meeting seen by the Post.

Two of the city's biggest agencies rejected the idea out of hand.

Evergrande had held a series of meetings with different agencies, according to a source who attended one but did not wish to be identified. The offer extends to the first 30 flats sold in November at the development. It comes after agents filed lawsuits to pursue commissions at Emerald Bay.

Evergrande would pay outstanding commission fees for two flats within 48 to 72 hours of a new sale being agreed, the developer said. Sales agents who rejected the offer might have to wait to be paid until April, when a fund matured, though commission payments would be at the back of the queue after "debt collection procedures". It could not guarantee the commission owed could be collected at that time.

〈Asian Post, Nov 19, 2021〉China Evergrande Group exited its stake in internet company HengTen Networks Group, raising a further HK$2.13 billion as the embattled developer faces deadlines to pay overdue interest on its debt next week.

Evergrande sold 1.66 billion shares of HengTen to Allied Resources Investment Holdings at HK$1.28 a share, representing a 24.3 per cent discount to its closing price on Wednesday, according to a Hong Kong stock exchange filing yesterday.

The world's most indebted developer, Evergrande held a majority stake in Hong Kong-based HengTen as recently as January, but it had been selling down its holdings in past months as part of an effort to manage 1.97 trillion yuan (HK$2.4 trillion) in total liabilities as it faces a cash crunch.

The sale represented about 18 per cent of HengTen's outstanding shares.

"Upon completion of the transaction, the company will cease to hold any shares in HengTen," Evergrande said. The beneficial owner of Allied Resources was Li Shao Yu, it added.1

〈Asian Post, Nov 17, 2021〉Land premium to hit HK$50b in homes boom

Analysts say roll-out of Northern Metropolis framework is likely to further fuel rush by developers to build flats to capitalise on the housing shortage

The government is set receive a record HK$50 billion in land premium this year as developers rush to build flats to capitalise on a housing shortage that is fuelling prices and demand.

Developers pay a land premium when a modification or change in land use results in a higher land value. The government had already generated HK$40 billion in land premium in the first 10 months of the year, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said this month. This matches the current record for the whole year reported in 2017, according to property consultancy Knight Frank. Last year the government earned HK$12.7 billion.

"It is likely that developers and some existing landowners will feel that they have the incentive to increase their land banks, or undertake redevelopment through land premium settlements with the government in the coming one to two years - especially after the roll-out of the Northern Metropolis framework," said Martin Wong, director and head of research and consultancy for Greater China at Knight Frank, which said the government could earn between HK$45 billion and HK$50 billion in land premium this year.

〈China Daily, Nov 16, 2021〉Investors are snapping up commercial properties in Australia with the rare support of Hong Kong buyers despite lingering Canberra-Beijing tensions, pushing the market Down Under towards its busiest in six years.

Commercial property investment involving deals above A$10 million (HK$57 million) has reached A$35.4 billion to date, a 70 per cent increase from a year earlier, according to Colliers International. The volume is within 17 per cent of the A$41.3 billion recorded in 2015.

The surge in transactions follows Canberra's move to ease pandemic curbs as governments around the world decided to "live with Covd-19" to revive economic growth. The decision appears to be aiding the real estate market, which has suffered from the withdrawal of mainland Chinese buyers as diplomatic relations deteriorated.

"Border closures have not dampened demand," said John Marasco, managing director of capital markets and investment services at Colliers in Sydney.

〈The Standard, Nov 15, 2021〉Hongkong Land, the biggest landlord in the Central business district, has revealed a new programme backed by a HK$100 million fund aimed at helping 1,000 pupils and their families living in subdivided flats to improve their lives.

The Home Fund initiative, which involves the Hong Kong Council of Social Service and 27 non-government organisations, will offer educational and counselling programmes to 1,000 Primary Four to Form Six students and their families stuck in cramped spaces in the Yau Tsim Mong and Sham Shui Po districts, two of the poorest in the city.

"Studying in a confined space in the grip of an epidemic, teenagers who live in subdivided flats really struggle a lot," Natalie Wu Yuk-yee, the developer's senior manager of corporate social responsibility, said earlier this week. "Also, how can they maintain a healthy relationship with their families? We see the need to help these young people."