Hong Kong property: builders mourn demise of ‘coffin properties’ increase

Dwellings the dimensions of parking areas have proliferated in overcrowded Hong Kong for the reason that Fifties. These are referred to politely as “nano residences” whereas subdivided flats have the grim nickname “coffin properties”. Regardless of this, they’ve been standard with cash-strapped Hong Kongers. A uncommon downturn here’s a warning for native builders.

Patrons are shunning the dwellings for the primary time since a surge in development in 2014. The droop displays the waning fortunes of Hong Kong because the gateway to a China wracked by coronavirus.

Final yr, the town’s largest developer had hundreds of items below development. It has been a worthwhile enterprise for Solar Hung Kai Properties, which runs on working margins of greater than 40 per cent

This yr, builders have offered lower than half of the studio residences they’ve constructed. Nano flats are making losses for homeowners too. Distributors have sometimes taken hits of greater than a fifth on gross sales this month.

That’s in step with the broader development. House costs within the metropolis have dropped by greater than 14 per cent this yr. Gross sales quantity is at a decade low.

This week, CK Asset, the flagship developer of tycoon Li Ka-shing, gained the public sale for former airport land for HK$8.7bn ($1.1bn). This was greater than 40 per cent lower than the earlier valuation and the bottom value per sq. foot since 2014.

Solar Hung Kai didn’t bid. Its debt to fairness ratio has deteriorated. Analysts, together with Goldman Sachs, anticipate Hong Kong residence costs to drop by 30 per cent by the tip of subsequent yr.

Shares of CK Asset and Henderson Land have fallen a few tenth prior to now six months. The latter trades at 10 instances ahead earnings, which is greater than 40 per cent decrease than even 2014 ranges — over the past property market decline — reflecting the dire outlook.

Native builders went on shopping for land at file costs up till late final yr. Now development prices have soared, finance is costlier and well-off expats are fleeing the town. A protracted droop lies forward.

The Lex staff is keen on listening to extra from readers. Please inform us what you consider Hong Kong actual property within the feedback part beneath.

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