HONG KONG: The public land auction was jam-packed, with three residential sites sparking a bidding war among developers.
Putting up more sites for sale is part of the government’s bid to boost land supply, to tame heated property prices. But the plots fetched prices that all fell within the higher end of market expectations, suggesting cooling measures have had limited affect so far.
The star attraction was the former Lingnan College site on Hong Kong Island. The over 160,000 square-foot site on Stubbs Road attracted plenty of interest as it can be turned into luxury housing projects.
After a rapid bidding session that only lasted 10 minutes, property giant Sun Hung Kai nabbed the sought-after site with a winning bid of US$576 million.
The second site in Kowloon Tong was snapped up by China Overseas Land & Investment for US$74 million.
Although it is on the smaller side at just over 30,000 square feet, the site also garnered plenty of interest as it is located in a traditional area for luxury villas.
Blue-chip developer Cheung Kong Holdings nabbed the final 253,000 square foot plot out in the New Territories for US$85 million.
Despite being in a slightly remote location and on a hillside, it also triggered brisk bidding.
The government auctioneer brushed off concerns that government sales of luxury plots were further inflating market prices.
Graham Ross, a government auctioneer, said: “The government is going to sell all different types of land. And one of them is luxury and the other ones are more mass market and other types of commercial and other land. It has a full sales programme covering all these types. And it won’t just concentrate on one type.”
In the past two years, Hong Kong’s property prices have soared some 60 per cent, fuelled by record-low interest rates and an influx of buyers from mainland China.
Hong Kong’s government has side aside more than 50 residential sites to auction off this year. Two more sites will go under the hammer next month, and some of the city’s biggest developers have already expressed keen interest.