〈Asian Post, Apr 9, 2022〉Several of Hong Kong’s top property tycoons threw their support one after another behind chief executive hopeful John Lee Ka-chiu, as he tapped the sole local delegate to the country’s top legislative body to lead his election campaign.
Property tycoons who announced their support for Lee yesterday included Sun Hung Kai Properties chairman Raymond Kwok Ping-luen; Victor Li Tzar-kuoi, the eldest son of billionaire Li Ka-shing and chairman of CK Hutchison Holdings and CK Asset Holdings; New World Development CEO Adrian Cheng Chi-kong; and Henderson Land co-chairman Martin Lee Ka-shing.
Wharf Real Estate Investment Company, chaired by Stephen Ng Tin-hoi, also called Lee a suitable candidate "to lead Hong Kong for the new chapter starting 25 years after the British handover in 1997".
Sino Group vice-chairman and real estate developer Daryl Ng Win-kong also backed the former No 2 official, joining Lee’s campaign as one of his three election expense agents.
Sources also told the Post more than 10 representatives from various industries were set to join the team in a bid to show solidarity, with Lee expected to announce his bid at an online presser at 3pm today.
〈Asian Post, Apr 8, 2022〉Hong Kong’s retail sector entered a "mini ice age" in February, according to property consultancy Savills, with a decline in sales and a rise in unemployment, although the city’s new consumption voucher scheme offers some hope for the future.
The combined value of retail sales in January and February fell by 4.9 per cent year on year to HK$59.04 billion, while the sector’s unemployment rate rose to 6.9 per cent in February from 5.4 per cent in December, according to provisional figures released by the Census and Statistics Department.
"Even the hardy perennials of the local retail scene, [food and beverages] and necessity trades, have begun to wilt as the new [Omicron] variant has forced many to shutter their businesses," said Simon Smith, regional head of research and consultancy for Asia-Pacific at Savills.
In recent weeks, Hong Kong has been rocked by a fifth wave of Omicron-driven Covid-19 infections, with strict anti-pandemic measures such as lockdowns and social distancing, dampening consumer sentiment and piling the pressure on shops and retail businesses.
Some 20 per cent of retail shops in Tsim Sha Tsui were vacant in March, up from 15.9 per cent in December, while average rent in the area fell by 5.9 per cent, according to data released on Wednesday by property firm CBRE.
〈China Daily, Apr 7, 2022〉Hong Kong's property prices rose only 3.6 percent year-on-year last year, far slower than the 11 percent rise of the global property price index tracking 150 cities around the world by Knight Frank.
The Asian financial hub ranked only the 123rd in the index and was lower than Guangzhou with an 8.7 percent price hike and Shenzhen with 4.8 percent, which placed at 80th and 113th, respectively.
Other cities in Asia, like the 59th Tokyo, saw its average home price go up by 10.7 percent, and that of Singapore also grew by 10.6 percent ranking the 61st.
Istanbul in Turkey saw the highest increase in the home price of 63 percent while Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia recorded a year-on-year drop of 5.7 percent last year, and became the worst performer among the 150 cities.
The real estate consultancy said home prices were rising at their fastest rate in almost 18 years in 2021 and of the 140 cities seeing prices increase last year, 44 percent of them registered over 10 percent annual price growth.
〈China Daily, Apr 6, 2022〉Gains of over 10pc in February alone a boon for landlords but a headache for tenants
Private residential rents in Singapore rose further in February amid strong competition for properties fuelled in part by demand from expatriates relocating from Hong Kong.
Rents in the core central, overall central and outside central districts ranged from S$3.20 (HK$18.50) to S$4.43 per square foot per month in February, according to property agency PropNex. That translates into a 10.2 per cent to 11.9 per cent increase on an annual basis.
"There is currently very high demand for rental properties due to a confluence of factors: locals turning to the rental market due to construction delays and the influx of foreigners," said Catherine He, head of research at Colliers Singapore. "As such, landlords can be expected to have greater bargaining power and ask for higher rents."
Recent reports have indicated that several multinational companies have shifted some key executives to Singapore to avoid Hong Kong’s tough Covid-19 quarantine and travel restrictions.
〈The Standard, Apr 5, 2022〉Sales of car parking spaces in Hong Kong hit a 22-month low in March amid economic headwinds, according to official data, prompting one of the city’s major investors to offer extra sweeteners to entice buyers.
Veteran investor Choi Bak-lung, who holds more than 200 car parking spaces in Tseung Kwan O, said he would provide guaranteed rental income and short-term loans to buyers in a bid to speed up sales amid poor sentiment in the market.
"Investors now need to think of new gimmicks to push sales of investment properties as market sentiment turns sour," said Fred Yu, deputy sales manager at Centaline Property Agency in Tseung Kwan O.
Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po has warned Hong Kong’s economy would contract in the first quarter and unemployment continue to rise amid the fifth wave of coronavirus infections, adding that fresh initiatives would soon be rolled out to assist businesses struggling under the outbreak.
Last week, Choi offered 121 car parking spaces and 24 motorcycle parking spaces at Metropolis in the Phase 3 development of Metro City near Po Lam MTR station in Tseung Kwan O.