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Hong Kong residential sale grabs buyer interest

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HONG KONG’S political crisis doesn’t seem to be putting some people off buying a home in the city.

Subscriptions exceeded the number of units on offer by 14 times at Wheelock Properties Ltd.’s Marini development in Tseung Kwan O, the company said late Thursday ahead of a sales launch that kicked off Friday morning. Sales of new apartments by developers in August are expected to touch 1,400, exceeding June and July’s 1,000 and 1,357 respectively, according to real estate agency Qfang.

“Even though the first-hand market has been slowed by recent economic and political environments, developers are still able to sell well if they price apartments at market level,” Qfang’s Managing Director Vincent Chan said.

Anti-government demonstrations that have sometimes turned violent and that are entering their fourth month haven’t put a measurable dent in property prices. Home values in the secondary market are up 1% since June, when the protests began in earnest.

The unrest may start to have more of an impact if it continues much longer, however, the Bank of America Corp. is predicting a short-term price drop of around 10%. The government is also warning of the economic risks the protests pose. Hong Kong’s Embattled leader Carrie Lam has said the damage resulting from the turmoil could be worse than during the deadly SARS virus outbreak in 2003. — Bloomberg

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