Homebuyers snub China Evergrande’s Emerald Bay project again as rivals outperform in Hong Kong sales

Zhang Shidong
·2-min read

China Evergrande Group saw a weak response from homebuyers to its third round of sales at its Emerald Bay Phase 2 project on Sunday, failing to replicate the upbeat sales recorded by competing developers over the weekend.

The developer sold 30 of the 253 units on offer in the Tuen Mun project in the New Territories, according to property agencies.

Oversupply in the district and general caution amid the worsening Covid-19 pandemic may have affected the take-up rate, some agencies said.

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Since the second phase of the Emerald Bay was launched last year, the Guangdong-based developer sold only one-third of the units at the first round in March, and another 18 in the second round a month later, based on previous reports.

Sammy Po Siu-ming of Midland Realty in a 2017 file picture. Photo: Xiaomei Chen
Sammy Po Siu-ming of Midland Realty in a 2017 file picture. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

“This is an old project that was put onto the market a while ago, so there’s not much fresh interest in it,” said Sammy Po Siu-ming, chief executive of the residential division at Midland Realty. “A new project nearby will be launched soon, so that is also keeping some buyers away.”

There may be bigger reasons at play too. Investors may be concerned about the financial health of China Evergrande, the world’s most indebted developer and once a standard bearer of China’s private companies that were seen as too big to fail.

It also underscores selective investment in the world’s most expensive real-estate market as Hongkongers are presented with many choices in recent months as home prices slipped amid an economic slump.

The tepid reception to the Emerald Bay project is in stark contrast to robust weekend sales elsewhere in the city. Nan Fung Group and MTR Corp sold 173 of the 218 flats on offer at their LP10 project at Lohas Park in Tseung Kwan O on Saturday. Sino Land sold 33 of the 58 units in Silversands project in Ma On Shan.

Hong Kong’s home prices were little changed last year, narrowly avoiding the first annual drop in 12 years despite the city clocking its worst recession on record when the economy shrank 6.1 per cent. Still, price of lived-in homes slid 0.4 per cent in December, bringing the decline to 1 per cent last quarter.

Property agencies are split about the outlook for 2021. Ricacorp Properties expects price to rise in January and February because of a seasonal boom, while others see a drag from the grim employment situation as the city’s jobless rate rose to a 16-year high.

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