> Hong Kong
Henderson Land kicks off '09 plans as sentiment rises
By Kwong Man-ki (HK Edition)
Updated: 2009-02-07 07:44

HONG KONG: Henderson Land Development plans to launch a new residential project called Shining Heights this month, marking the start of its 2009 sales plans.

"We think the market sentiment has been good in the first quarter up to now," said Thomas Lam, deputy general manager of Henderson. "There are huge demands in the market."

Lam expects home prices to increase by more than 10 percent this year. "Unlike derivatives and stocks, properties are practical investments that can attract end users," he said.

That bullish view is different from other analysts who worry that the rising unemployment rate will deter home seekers from buying.

Credit Suisse earlier said that Hong Kong's residential-property prices may fall by about 20 percent in the first half as the jobless rate rises, while CLSA said that housing values may drop as much as 20 percent this year due to the same reason.

Residential projects in Henderson's sales schedule include the third phase of Beverly Hills in Tai Po and projects on Headland Road and at 39 Conduit Road.

The soft-sell of Shining Heights Tai Kok Tsui has started, Lam said, adding that the sale of the project will probably kick off in this month.

The roadshow in Guangzhou started Friday, and Henderson plans to organize another roadshow in Shenzhen.

"We expect that not more than 10 percent of our buyers are from the mainland," he said, noting that it is a trend for developers to target mainland buyers.

Shining Heights comprises 348 units ranging from 710 to 4,445 sq ft. Lam said the average selling price of a typical unit is HK$7,000 per square foot. The project provides some special units, including four penthouses ranging from 3,431 to 4,445 sq ft.

"We hope to sell the penthouses at over HK$15,000 per square foot," Lam said, adding that these are subjected to actual offers.

The property market sentiment has been sluggish in recent months, but developers have begun their project launches following the Chinese New Year. Besides Henderson's Shining Heights, Sun Hung Kai Properties' The Cullinan, atop Kowloon station, is expected to be open for selling shortly.

(HK Edition 02/07/2009 page2)