Henderson Land Development this past week won full ownership of a Hong Kong Island site which could yield a residential project worth HK$1.1 billion ($140 million), with the developer pushing ahead with the purchase despite disappointing financial results in the first half.
Via a compulsory sale which valued the property at HK$588.7 million ($75 million), Henderson acquired the remaining ground floor retail unit in a set of five aging tenement buildings in Tai Hang, an upscale residential area uphill from Causeway Bay, which can now be developed into 40,473 square feet (3,760 square metres) of combined residential and retail space.
The developer controlled by the family of billionaire Lee Shau-kee is expected to redevelop the 4,497 square foot site into some 80 small-sized units, with each flat potentially selling for around HK$10 million, or HK$30,000 per square foot, said Alex Leung, senior director at CHFT Advisory and Appraisal.
“It is expected that the project will be popular among families after redevelopment, and we believe that residential properties with redevelopment potential in Tai Hang will continue to be highly sought after by developers,” said Cynthia Li, senior director of projects strategy and consultancy department at JLL.
Causeway Bay Neighbour
The sale, which came nearly two years after Henderson first submitted an application for the compulsory sale of 23 and 24 Sun Chun Street in September 2020, is the final move in a years-long piecemeal acquisition scheme by the developer.
Under Hong Kong rules encouraging replacement of aging properties, developers which acquire more than 80 percent of the space in a building over 50 years old can apply to Lands Tribunal for a compulsory sale of the remaining units.
Average selling prices for new homes in Tai Hang run from HK$25,000 to HK$26,000 per square foot of saleable area, and could reach up to HK$30,000 per square foot of saleable area, said Li.
The neighbourhood just five minutes’ walk from Victoria Park sits in the popular 12 School Net, with famous schools within easy reach, said Li in a press release by JLL, which was the auctioneer for the sale.
Even amid the property market downturn, urban land banks are still valuable, said Leung, especially since the area is within a 10 minutes’ drive from the city’s Causeway Bay commercial hub.
Urban Renewal Focus
Although Henderson saw underlying profit attributable to shareholders fall 34 percent in the first half of 2022 compared to the previous year, its revenue from property sales in Hong Kong rose 10 percent year-on-year to HK$4 billion over the period amid “solid housing demand from end-users”.
That boost in residential sales income came despite prices of mass market homes sliding 3.9 percent during the first six months of 2022, giving the developer more motivation to continue its focus on up-market projects.
Also in Tai Hang, the developer is aiming to gain full ownership of a land parcel spanning 9 to 13 Sun Chun Street, just across the street from this latest acquisition, where it already holds at least 80 percent ownership of the existing buildings, according to its latest annual report.
To keep its residential projects flowing, Henderson currently has 27 urban renewal projects in its pipe where it has secured from 80 to 100 percent ownership of the properties, with those developments having the potential to yield up to 3.9 million square feet in gross floor area.