Tag Archives: housing

Hong Kong’s role in GBA: keep calm and carry on

Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, has received a bag of 16 goodies from her bosses in Beijing related to Hong Kong’s role within the Greater Bay Area. And the city’s role, in case anyone was wondering, is “completely unchanged”, she says.

The shiniest of these gifts from the central government is a complete relaxation on restrictions for Hong Kong residents to buy apartments in the nine Guangdong cities of the GBA.

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Jiangmen beckons with easier housing rules

At least 30 cities across the country have recently loosened their restrictions on non-official residents buying into the local property market. Jiangmen is among them, according to local media.

As Bloomberg reports, the slowest economic growth in 30 years is prompting some city governments to loosen up and allow people living in their jurisdictions without a local residency permit (a hukou) to buy a home.

Jiangmen, the city on the far western side of the Greater Bay, next door to Zhuhai and Zhongshan, has gone a couple of steps further. According to the city’s Housing and Construction Bureau, it wants to support “all kinds of innovative entrepreneurs to live and work in Jiangmen, attract business and investment, and integrate into the Greater Bay Area”.

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In HK, battle over land heats up

It’s becoming clearer now that the Hong Kong government is pushing more actively to resume its process of reclaiming land from big property developers under the Land Resumptions Ordinance. Why else would the city’s largest property developer, Sun Hung Kai Properties, be invoking the Basic Law?

Mike Wong Chik-wing, SHKP’s deputy managing director, gave a textbook example of how to take a bullet for the family, telling reporters the company would cooperate with the government, but only on land parcels it had been collecting – for “30 to 40 years” – which had already been zoned for social housing. Otherwise, he asked the government to respect the Basic Law, which protects private property. (SHKP is owned by the Kwok family, one of the city’s five richest, who between them control nearly half of the market.)

SCMP has a good story on it, and has also started a series on the land and housing mess, beginning with a look at how land auctions subsidize the cost of pretty much everything in Hong Kong. The story has some great stats, including a table of the richest CPPCC members from Hong Kong. 

Draw up a chair and grab the popcorn, folks. There will undoubtedly be plenty of drama and intrigue to come. 

Housing in big cities stays cool

It’s been a blistering summer so far, but housing prices in the Greater Bay Area’s three biggest cities have been cool. In Hong Kong, there are no points for guessing why recent home sales have seen developers cut prices, while even the secondary markethas seen weakness, and the outlook appears bleak. Guangzhou and Shenzhen, meanwhile, are treading water as the central government has maintained its stance that “housing is for living not for speculation”. 

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GBA property markets cool, not fast enough

Despite a contraction in bank lending to Guangdong’s real-estate market in Q2, property volumes and prices throughout the key GBA cities showed strength in the first half of the year as developers turned to alternative funding channels, latest provincial data shows. 

According to the latest report by the provincial housing bureau, GBA cities diverged from the rest of the province between the first and second quarters. This was primarily due to the cost of capital. The eastern, western and northern regions of the province saw a rise in volumes but prices fell, while the nine cities of the GBA saw a rise in both volumes and prices.

Guangdong sold a total of 63.218 million sqm in property during the first half, down 3.7% year-on-year. Total contracted sales, however, were RMB888.76 billion, up 6.6% year-on-year.

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Shenzhen is costly, yet upside looks good

The research arm of China’s leading open-platform real estate listings portal, Beike, recently released its latest index on the growth potential of property markets across the country. Shenzhen was ranked No. 1, for two main reasons: 1) a relatively low homeownership rate; and 2) an “open attitude towards newcomers”.

The list ranks China’s top 100 cities based on a range of indicators, including policy trends, industrial clustering, urbanization growth and achievement, population flows and GDP per capita. 

Shenzhen was followed by Beijing and Shanghai. Guangzhou fell into fifth place behind Hangzhou, followed by Suzhou, Nanjing, Wuhan, Xiamen, and Tianjin in Top 10. 

The rest of the GBA cities made it, too. Zhuhai was ranked 22nd, Dongguan 27th, Foshan 32nd, Huizhou 33rd, Zhongshan 34th, Jiangmen 68th, and Zhaoqing 93rd.

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Shenzhen steps up cooling measures

As new data shows slowing growth in housing prices across the country in June, cities are responding to central government directives with different administrative measures to curb overheated markets. Shenzhen has chosen to tighten up on the flow of data and has sent teams around to individual new-home projects to personally encourage restraint by developers.

Average new home prices in China’s 70 major cities grew 0.6% in June from a month earlier, easing from a 0.7% gain in May, according to Reuters calculations based on data from the National Bureau of Statistics. Sixty-three of the total 70 cities surveyed by the NBS saw average home prices rise in June, down from the 67 that reported price increases in May. 

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Shenzhen offers 40% off for talent housing

Shenzhen is moving fast on its plans for luring “talents” to the city, defining more clearly who qualifies as one and offering them a sweet 40% discount on housing – for rental or purchase.

Here are the criteria for applicants who are already working for a company or who have started a business in Shenzhen:

  1. University degree holders, including overseas graduates.
  2. Those recognized by a municipal-level human resources department with a secondary or above-level national vocational qualification.
  3. High-end talents and talents “needed urgently”, identified by the city government.

Here are the types of accommodation available:

  • If you are single or living with your spouse: 35 sqm;
  • With three “nuclear family” members: 70 sqm;
  • With four or more “nuclear family” members: 90 sqm.

Rentals are for a maximum 10 years, and the discount lasts for only the first six years.

For those wanting to buy, it depends on their assessed income levels. And it is related to the number of years the purchaser has lived in Shenzhen.

Read more in Chinese.

Guangzhou to have 20m people by 2035

Think Guangzhou is big? Think again. The city government has released a draft urban masterplan that envisages building the provincial capital into an “international metropolis”, with a population of 20 million, by the end of the current GBA masterplan in 2035.

That would mean adding 5.1 million residents – presumably all “talents” – over the next 15 years. That is an average of 300,000 per year. It would be an easing of its current growth rate, though: Guangzhou added 566,367 residents last year. That was No. 2 in the country for population growth, behind Shenzhen.

To support this growth, the city plans to build two million new housing units, of which at least 8% will be social housing. How will all these people get to and from home and work? On a railway network that will be adding 2,000 km of tracks, four times its current length. Hi-speed lines will bring in visitors from cities further away, such as Shenzhen, Hong Kong, and Macau, while the Metro will be extended into neighboring cities as well. Moreover, a second airport is currently being planned in the area between Guangzhou and Dongguan.

Still think Hong Kong will be the GBA’s “dragon head”? Really?

Read more in Chinese.