Hong Kong buyers snap up SHKP’s Wetland Seasons flats in Tin Shui Wai for the second weekend as sentiments improve

Martin Choi

Hong Kong’s homebuyers piled into the first major residential property project to be launched in Tin Shui Wai in a decade, as they snap up most of the 335 homes offered by Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP) at the Wetland Seasons Park project.

SHKP sold 90 per cent of the flats as at 9:30pm, agents said. With nearly 18 buyers bidding for every available flat, the batch is expected to sell out, making it the second consecutive sell-out weekend for the city’s biggest developer by capitalisation, agents said.

“Potential homebuyers are quick to snap up flats, as market confidence has returned,” said Midland Realty’s residential division chief executive Sammy Po, who estimated that 80 per cent of the bidders are buying the flats for their own use. “The property market has been boosted by the rising stock market, as a trade deal is about to be signed between the US and China, and the social movement in the city seems to have cooled down a bit.”

Hong Kong’s property market, which took a stumble last year with the combination of the US-China trade war and the city’s worst political crisis, is struggling to regain its footing in the new year.

Investor sentiment improved in January, drawing some homebuyers back into the market to commit to their investments before the Lunar New Year holiday kick off in late January, said Louis Chan, vice-chairman of Asia-Pacific and chief executive of residential division at Centaline Property Agency.

Tin Shui Wai, which was developed in the 1980s as Hong Kong’s eighth new township to divert population from overcrowded Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, was also the scene of several clashes between police and anti-government protesters. A fight broke out on November 20 at the Tin Shui Wai station, forcing the subway operator to close it, while some protesters obstructed carriage doors, causing delays on the Kwun Tong, Tsuen Wan, Tseung Kwan O and Island lines.

Wetland Seasons Park at 9 Wetland Park Road in Tin Shui Wai as of December 28, 2019. Photo: Edmond So

The Wetland Seasons Park, due for completion in March 2021, is the first residential property project to go on sale in 2020, and the first new community to be launched in Tin Shui Wai in 10 years, with 710 units offered so far.

The flats are priced between HK$9,995 per square foot, and up to HK$16,284 per square foot (US$195 per square metre), with the smallest one-room studio priced at HK$3.75 million, while a four-room flat costs HK$17.4 million.

To attract buyers, SHKP had offered discounts for Wetland Seasons Park, pricing them lower than second-hand homes in the neighbourhood, and offered a range of financing options with generous mortgages, Centaline’s Chan said.

Ahead of Wetland’s launch, property owners at nearby Kingswood Villas, developed by Cheung Kong Holdings from 1991 to 1999, had been selling their homes to trade up to the newer property.

As many as 531 homes changed hands at Kingswood Villas as of December 23, about 3.3 per cent of the 15,920 units in the 58 residential blocks there, according to data by Midland Realty. Prices have dropped to a 10-month low of below HK$10,000 per square foot in some units, where a 550 sq ft flat at the Kenswood Court building sold for HK$5 million on December 20, while a 548 sq ft unit at Locwood Court changed hands at HK$5.5 million, according to Centaline’s sales data.

The activity at Kingswood Villas, home to almost 40,000 residents according to Hong Kong’s 2016 census, shows how the residential property market is trying to find its footing after the city’s seven-month long political crisis sapped appetite for long-term investments.

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