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Hong Kong housing in hot demand as Wheelock apartments sell out

[HONG KONG] Demand in Hong Kong's red-hot housing market shows no signs of abating, with Wheelock & Co. selling all 750 apartments offered at its new Kowloon project over the weekend.

Based on buyers' enthusiasm for the project, where 9,800 applications were made for the 750 units, Wheelock is likely to announce the launch of a further 300 to 400 apartments on Tuesday, said Ken Lee, senior principal regional sales director at Centaline Property Agency Ltd. Wheelock realized about HK$8.1 billion ($1.03 billion) in sales, he said.

Prices for the next batch of units may rise 5 per cent to 8 per cent, to as much as HK$15,500 per square foot, Mr Lee said.

Wheelock last week agreed to buy a plot of land near the former Kai Tak airport from embattled conglomerate HNA Group Co. for HK$6.36 billion.

Secondary house prices in Hong Kong, the world's least affordable city, have climbed 4 per cent this year, according to Centaline, and have surged more than 300 per cent since their 2003 trough.

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The units at Wheelock's Malibu development in Lohas Park are part of a mass residential development built on land bought from MTR Corp. located about 30 minutes to the city's financial district.

Wheelock shares rose 0.9 per cent to HK$59.85 at 11:30 a.m. in Hong Kong, and have gained 3.8 per cent in the past three trading days.


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