Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. (16), Hong Kong’s second-largest developer by market value, cut prices by 40 percent on average for some apartments at its Riva project in the city’s northwestern Yuen Long district, a move that may spur a price war.

Source: The Standard Finance

Local home prices in January fell to a seven-month low record after rising slightly in December.

Flat prices dropped by 0.24 percent from December, according to the Rating and Valuation Department‘s price index, but were up 5.2 percent year on year.

In December, home prices had risen slightly, by 0.1 percent, after plunging for three months.

Luxury and larger flats – above 1,722 square feet – saw the biggest falls, and less than 20 such homes changed hands. Small and mid-size flats saw prices fall from 0.19 to 0.47 percent.

Meantime, rents in January fell by 0.45 percent from December.

Fretting that price declines will continue, some sellers have cut asking prices or even, they say, are accepting losses.

And some prospective buyers have forfeited deposits on properties believing they can buy cheaper later.

One of those was a mainland Chinese who yesterday forfeited a deposit of close to HK$3.92 million for a house in Block 2 of Valais in Sheung Shui that he had agreed to buy for HK$39.16 million last April. But his buyer’s stamp duty of HK$5.87 million will be refunded.

Action was reported in the primary market, however, with Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) saying last night it had sold at least 100 flats out of 107 listed at The Riva in Yuen Long yesterday despite price hikes of up to 3 percent.

And Henderson Land Development (0012) will release 38 flats in the first phase of Double Cove in Wu Kai Sha next Thursday after 50 sold yesterday.

But discounts will be cut by half to 5 percent on the 38 flats, priced at HK$6.38 million to HK$11.96 million.

Swire Properties (1972) launches its Mount Parker Residences in Quarry Bay soon, with showflats and the clubhouse on view for invited guests today.

In the commercial market, Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group (1929) opens its first store in Tai Wai with a district record monthly rent of HK$1,040 per square foot for a 500-sq-ft shop at Grandway Garden. The HK$520,000 rent means a 49-percent hike from previously.

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