China’s belt and road could be back on track in Malaysia after the country’s new government worked out a plan with the Chinese contractors set to build a new rail project in the country. Also in the news today, Hong Kong still has the world’s most expensive housing, but Shanghai, Shenzhen and other mainland cities are rapidly catching up and developers are showing an increased appetite for new land in 2019. All these stories and more are in our headline roundup.
Malaysia Rail Project Back on Track After 33% Price Cut
The multibillion-dollar East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project is back on, after Malaysia and China agreed to proceed with it under a new set of terms, in a development set to improve strained bilateral ties and present Beijing with a strategic toehold on a vital infrastructure undertaking in the region.
After months of often protracted negotiations, representatives from both countries signed a supplementary agreement in Beijing yesterday. The ECRL will now be built at an estimated cost of RM44 billion (S$14.5 billion), down sharply from the original RM66.5 billion, which critics said was hugely inflated due to corruption when the project was awarded by the previous government in October 2016. Read more>>
HK, SG and SH Lead Ranks for World’s Most Expensive Homes
Hong Kong remains the most expensive city in the world to buy a home, according to CBRE. There is no big surprise there, yet there is plenty of reason why we should be alarmed at the latest research from the global real-estate consultancy.
The worrisome fact is this: Hong Kong is in a league of its own among the world’s priciest housing markets, and is also continuing to widen the gap with the rest. Read more>>
China Land Sales Premiums Rise as Developers Regain Confidence
Chinese developers have become more aggressive in acquiring land at auction in second-tier cities, emboldened by improved financing and a stronger sales outlook.
The average land auction premium over starting bidding prices in 300 major Chinese cities monitored by property consultancy China Index Academy rose to 23.7 per cent in March, compared with 10 per cent in February. Read more>>
China Property Market Jumps After Monetary Stimulus
China’s year-long campaign of targeted stimulus to stoke the economy is making its presence felt in the property market, a sector that has the power to cement a recovery and improve the fiscal health of local authorities.
Project sales of major home builders rebounded in March after contracting in the first two months of 2019, thanks to easier financing from banks, looser restrictions on home buying and lower mortgage rates. Read more>>
Hong Kong Construction Cost Growth Slowed in 2018
Hong Kong moved down two places in the ranks of cities with the highest average cost of construction globally in 2018, according to international project manager Turner and Townsend. The city’s average cost of construction rose by just 1 per cent, contributing to a slip from third place in 2017 to fifth last year.
The average construction cost had risen by 6.2 per cent in 2017, placing Hong Kong behind only London and Zurich. Last year, affected by the US-China trade war, it stood at US$3,749 per square metre. Read more>>
Mandarin Oriental in Talks to Enter India Hotel Market
Mumbai: London Stock Exchange-listed Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group Ltd plans to enter India’s growing luxury hospitality market, said a top company executive.
The Hong Kong-based firm, also listed on the Singapore Exchange, is in talks with several property owners in India to set up its first luxury boutique hotel within the next one year, said Alexandra Yao, vice-president, development, Mandarin Oriental. Read more>>
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