高陞大樓位於西營盤皇后大道西78至80號及荷李活道265至267號，比鄰荷李活道公園，鄰近西營盤港鐵站，具有一定重建價值。項目為1幢1966年落成，樓齡約55年的十層高樓宇，地下及1樓為商鋪，設有兩條公共樓梯。政府租約年期由1861年6月25日起計999年，規劃用途為「住宅 (甲類) 7」。
政府發展新界東北，續推古洞一帶官地，其中古洞第24區地皮將於明日 (23日) 截標。有測量師認為，繼新地 (00016) 4月以逾86億元高價投得比鄰的第25區地皮後，會拉高同區地價，並將其估值調高5成至約37.4億元。
太子珠寶啟超道巨舖不續租 丟空面積3400呎冠銅鑼灣 業主減26%覓客
本港新冠肺炎疫情雖然緩和，但因缺乏遊客支撐，核心旅遊區商舖租戶生意未見起色，商戶棄租及大幅減租情況持續。太子珠寶鐘錶租用達13年的銅鑼灣啟超道共3400方呎多層舖位，現時月租135萬元，將放棄續租，暫成今年區內丟空面積最大的舖位。東亞銀行 (00023) 則以每月60.3萬元續租銅鑼灣怡和街複式舖位，月租較3年前大減36.1%。
該舖原為鐘錶品牌Rado (雷達) 的專門店，原長租每月約80萬元，呎租857元，在去年6月底提早一年退租。
Hysan splurges $800m in Causeway Bay deals
Hysan Development (0014) has acquired No 85 to 89 at Percival Street in Causeway Bay in 14 deals, amounting to HK$800 million in total.
The most expensive deal was a ground floor shop at 85 Percival Street for a price of HK$260 million. All properties were purchased by Prehnite Investments. Its director is Chiu Ming-king, who is also a director of Hysan's subsidiary.
Meanwhile, Emperor International (0163), which owns 90 percent of shares of Ko Shing Building in Sheung Wan, unified the remaining lot shares in a compulsory sale at a reserve price of HK$259 million.
The site covers about 2,144 square feet, with a total buildable area of about 19,000 sq ft.
As for the primary property market, Hanison Construction (0896) named its 222 Hollywood Rod project "Hollywood Hill" and is expected to open the sale in August.
The developer said the brochure will be uploaded next week coupled with the opening of the show unit and the launch of the price list.
K&K Property's SkyeHi in Tuen Mun announced the first round sales arrangement right after the launch of its third price list.
The first sale will be on Sunday and will provide all 79 units launched in the first to third price lists. The subscription will end tomorrow.
The saleable area of the first round units ranges from 265 sq ft to 290 sq ft with a discounted price of HK$4.5 million to HK$5.99 million. The market value of the entire batch of units is about HK$503 million.
240 rooms transform into transitional homes
Approximately 240 hotel rooms will be launched under the government's transitional housing pilot scheme.
The Transport and Housing Bureau said more than 200 hotels and guesthouses have registered since April.
Two projects have been approved by the authority so far, involving one hotel and 14 guesthouses, providing a total of about 240 rooms.
Separately, Transport and Housing Secretary Frank Chan Fan told the Legislative Council that registered building professionals will have to submit a comprehensive report before July 30 about the two Pavilia Farm III towers, which are to be to be torn down and rebuilt after they failed concrete strength tests.
Chan said the Buildings Department has confirmed upon inspections that the overall structure of all seven residential buildings of the development project have no obvious danger. He also promised the demolition and reconstruction process will be conducted under continuous and stringent on-site inspections and real-time detection systems to ensure that railway services and safety will not be affected.
Chan also said he expected that it would take three years to correct issues with MTR ticket fares.
He explained that fares for the new Tuen Ma line is bound by the fare structure of the existing railway network, resulting in higher fares for shorter trips and lower fares for longer trips. However, he emphasized that this accounts for less than two percent of the over 4,000 trip combinations in the entire MTR network.
Also at the council meeting, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Christopher Hui Ching-yu said most stakeholders support the amendment bill to transfer powers from the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants to the Financial Reporting Council.
The authority has been promoting the bill to empower the FRC to conduct inspections, investigations, disciplinary sanctions and oversight of the HKICPA.
Evergrande mortgages halted by top HK banks
Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation confirmed that it has rejected offering mortgage loans to home buyers of uncompleted flats developed by the debt-ridden China Evergrande (3333) in Hong Kong.
Other banks, including Bank of China (Hong Kong) (2388), Hang Seng Bank and Standard Chartered have also suspended new mortgages for Evergrande's two projects under construction in Hong Kong after re-evaluating the risks of such loans.
It is a rare incident in the city's property market, property agent said, who has been working in this field for more than 30 years.
The developer said in an email that it declines to comment on the practice of the particular banks, adding that there are still banks that are positive to undertaking uncompleted mortgage loans. It did not name the banks in the email.
The company also said that it will allow the affected customers to apply for an extension of the transaction date to 60 days after receiving the transaction advice and wave the 60-day penalty interest on a case-by-case basis.
Evergrande has two projects in Hong Kong that are still under construction. The Vertex in the Cheung Sha Wan, which has more than half of the 414 units sold, is slated to finish by the end of October while Emerald Bay Phase Two is due to finish at the end of next month and has sold 97 percent of its homes, a mortgage broker said. Buyers who have purchased flats in recent months and have chosen the cash payment plan may be affected if they have not yet applied for a mortgage at the bank, the broker said.
Another property agent expects that the impact to be limited as most of the flats have been sold already.
A total of 58 homebuyers have chosen the pay-as-you-go method to buy units of The Vertex or Emerald Bay Phase Two since May, data from the mortgage broker showed.
The cash payment plan requires buyers to pay in full within a designated period after the downpayment, usually 90 to 180 days.
Tso suggests investors switch to the stage payment plan or apply for an extension of the transaction date.
Evergrande's shares have tumbled 28 percent just this month and its US dollar bonds have hit record lows.
Hong Kong’s high business start-up cost fails to deter foreign companies seeking access to China’s breakneck growth pace
A recent survey found it costs twice as much to set up a business in Hong Kong as it does in rival Singapore
However, other factors such as the low-tax regime and access to mainland China and growth prospects will override cost concerns, analysts say
The high cost of starting a business in Hong Kong is unlikely to deter foreign firms from expanding into the city, because it serves as a gateway to the mainland Chinese and Asian markets, according to industry experts.
A number of overseas companies are pondering coming to Hong Kong, defying a recent survey suggesting it is twice as expensive to set up shop here as it is in rival Singapore.
“Foreign food and beverage brands from the United States, the UK as well as [mainland] China are actively seeking opportunities now. They will come to Hong Kong once the border opens,” property agent said.
It costs on average US$512 to set up an office in Hong Kong, compared with US$238 in Singapore and US$138 in mainland China, according to the business finance and lending research and information website businessfinancing.co.uk. That is still cheaper than the US$641 it costs in Japan.
The survey used information from The World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 report to gather the cost and minimum capital requirement for a small-to-medium sized limited-liability company to get off the ground in the largest business-oriented cities in 190 countries.
“When an overseas or mainland company considers where to set up, it will also take into account the growth prospects the city offers, in addition to its cost side,” said InvestHK, a government department responsible for foreign direct investment, in an emailed reply to the Post.
As an important international financial centre Hong Kong offers unrivalled access to the mainland market, an easy business environment and low tax regime that is attractive to companies looking for a convenient global foothold, it added.
The fact Hong Kong is identified as a crucial international financial and innovation centre within the Greater Bay Area adds further appeal, said InvestHK.
“The number of mainland and overseas companies in Hong Kong is on a steady uptrend. There was only a very insignificant change in 2020 despite the Covid-19 pandemic,” it said.
The total number of offices and regional headquarters opened by foreign companies in Hong Kong was 9,025 in 2020, on par with the 9,040 in the previous year, according to data from InvestHK. The figure was 8,754 in 2018.
InvestHK said mainland Chinese firms accounted for 22 per cent of them, or 1,986 offices, making it the largest market in 2020, followed by Japan’s 1,398, the US’ 1,283, the UK’s 665 and Singapore’s 453.
“I do not think lower costs will lure multinational firms to Singapore, as the real estate cost is relatively small in proportion to their revenue,” property consultant said.
Another property agency said that the rental expenses accounted for about 8 to 15 per cent of a company’s operations in the finance sector.
“It is true that Hong Kong’s core business centre is one of the most expensive globally but the city also has many affordable decentralised markets for new companies to choose from,” the agent said.
The agent said that the rents in Wong Chuk Hang, Kowloon East and the New Territories are lower than the average in Shanghai and those in “noncore” areas of Singapore.
Grade A, or premium, office rents in Wong Chuk Hang average US$42.5 per square foot per year, compared with US$52.2 in Singapore’s grade B offices in decentralised areas and US$67.2 in Shanghai’s historic Puxi area, according to the property agency. The average premium office rent in Central is US$155.9 per sq ft per year, 66 per cent higher than Singapore’s equivalent at US$93.7 and US$76.9 in Shanghai’s main financial district, Pudong.
“Grade A office rents in Hong Kong have dropped by about 25 per cent in the past two years, which is making the market more affordable,” the agent said.
(South China Morning Post)