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HK$11.5b luxury homes sale put on hold amid Hong Kong unrest

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CK Asset Holdings Ltd, the developer founded by billionaire Li Ka-shing, postponed a planned sale of condominiums in Hong Kong as ongoing political protests made it difficult to market the luxury residences.

[HONG KONG] CK Asset Holdings Ltd, the developer founded by billionaire Li Ka-shing, postponed a planned sale of condominiums in Hong Kong as ongoing political protests made it difficult to market the luxury residences.

The homes at 21 Borrett Road would not be offered for sale as scheduled this month, a spokeswoman for the company said on Wednesday, confirming an earlier report on RTHK radio. Marketing a luxury project would be difficult under the current social atmosphere and there is no fixed schedule for the sale, CK Asset executive director Justin Chiu told RTHK.

The apartments will cost at least HK$100 million (S$17.7 million) each, Mr Chiu told RTHK. That means CK Asset could generate HK$11.5 billion (S$2 billion) just for the 115 units in the project's first phase, scheduled to be completed in September. There are 66 units in the second phase.

CK Asset's decision to put off the sale adds to signs of economic stress in the city more than two months after protests started against a proposed extradition bill, then turned into violent anti-Beijing protests. Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd has said it would delay the sale of its residential project in the city's Kowloon district as consumer sentiment was worsening on the social unrest, the South China Morning Post reported this week.

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The images of riot police clashing with protesters at the airport further dented Hong Kong's reputation as a stable place to do business during the 11th week of protests. The escalating stakes have raised fears that China would mobilize forces to restore order, a move that could scare away foreign companies and further erode the financial hub's autonomy.

The Real Estate Developers Association of Hong Kong issued a statement on Aug 8 condemning the violence and calling for peace. Another appeal published in Chinese-language papers was issued on Aug 10, with co-signers including billionaire Henry Cheng of New World Development.

CK Asset's chairman Victor Li said earlier this month that the demonstrations, which began over legislation that would have allowed extradition to the mainland, were causing potential property buyers to adopt a wait-and-see attitude.

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