Everything about Landscope Christie's International Real Estate and the Hong Kong luxury property market

Glimmers of Hope

In a marketplace that is swamped by bad news every day, some recent economic data released in the US and China is re-igniting hopes of a recovery. While unemployment rates see no sign of abating and international import / export trades continue to record worst figures for decades, liquidity in the financial markets has eased on the back of strong injection of capital from the governments, particularly in the US and China.

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Fresh Impetus

Speaking at the closing of the National People's Congress yesterday in Beijing. Premier Wen Jiabao reconfirmed Central Government's commitment to shore up Hong Kong for its role as an international financial centre.

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Price War

The market is entering a nostalgic mood. While people are reminiscing the good “old” days of 2007 and early 2008, property prices cannot defy the law of physics and retreat to their 2005 levels. Many buyers who fought so hard to grab a piece of the action in 2007 especially for those first hand sales are now seeing helplessly 30% of their asset value evaporate, if not regretting entering the market at all.

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Mixed Fortunes

After three months of sales freeze, the luxury property market seemed to have thawed in last December. Sales resumed in Southside and The Peak notably, with a number of townhouses sold for between $35 million to $60 million, many of them having been on the market for over 9 months, some even more than a year. The brisk sale of Belgravia apartments on South Bay Road at 10% premium to market price was a surprise. It helped many townhouse owners in Southside finding buyers who felt townhouses with similar price tag were really attractive. On The Peak, the market benefited from an improved sentiment and had seen the sale of Sunshine Villa, La Hacienda and Kelletteria. With price having tumbled by 30% to 40% over the last 12 months, bargain hunters are out in force. The sales have defied market predictions, amidst a gloomy economic outlook.

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Historical Moment

September 2008 will be remembered by the world as the most dramatic month in financial history. Lehman Brothers. the fourth largest investment bank in the US. collapsed amid the historical credit crisis; Merryll Lynch was sold to Bank of America as other salvation plans failed; AIG. one of the world's largest financial groups. went into deep trouble and was only saved of its immediate closure by US government's injection of US$85 billion; Wachovia Bank was in negotiation to be sold and more than a dozen US banks closed down since the subprime woes surfaced. Even the survivors Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs had to change its business model to the traditional commercial banking. In Europe. Fortis Group had to be saved by the Belgian government. Hypo Real Estate was calling for German government's bailout. and many other European governments had to dig deep into their reserve to salvage falling financial institutions. In UK. troubled mortgage lender Bradford & Bingley had to be nationalised to avoid closing down after UK government rushed to save Northern Rock a few month earlier.

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