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SHKP Beas River house to carry HK$100m price tag

SHENZEN: Most property buyers probably wouldn't fancy Sheung Shui, close to the Hong Kong-Shenzhen border, as a prestigious location. But developers seem to think otherwise.

Sheung Shui's Beas River, about five minutes' drive from Huanggang opposite Lok Ma Chau, is fast becoming the new area for the rich and famous. Close to Beas River Country Club and Hong Kong Golf Club, houses at St Andrews Place and Royal Oaks have been going for HK$12,000 to HK$15,000 (RM4,826.33 to RM6,032.91) per square foot.

Now Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP) has announced that it will offer its upcoming luxury housing project, Valais, in the Beas River area, at a new record price in the New Territories. Valais has 300 detached and semi-detached houses ranging from 2,600 to 4,500 square feet.

SHKP plans to offer the cheapest unit at about HK$30 million, while the most expensive house would come with a price tag of more than HK$100 million, or more than HK$20,000 per square foot, said Victor Lui Ting, executive director at Sun Hung Kai Real Estate Agency.

Given the going rates in the neighbourhood, is SHKP aiming for the moon? Some analysts think so.

"It is a marketing gimmick. Any owner can ask for HK$100,000 per square foot, that does not necessarily mean they will get it. We only look at transaction prices," said analyst Paul Louie at Nomura International (HK).

Eric Yuen, head of research at GuocoCapital, said the SHKP brand could indeed sell its products at a premium but it is hard to predict the sales outcome at this stage.

"With prices like that, the developer is clearly more interested in achieving high prices for the project rather than generating a good turnover by volume," he said. The pricing strategy underscored the limited supply of top-notch houses in Hong Kong, he added.

Valais would be targeted at Hong Kong businesspeople and affluent mainlanders, said Lui.

Danny Lau Tat-pong could be the kind of buyer SHKP is angling for. Lau travels to Dongguan three times a week to visit his factory and spends two days in his office in Kwun Tong.

He lives in a 2,000 square foot unit in Kowloon Tong, which is conveniently located for access to both his Hong Kong and mainland offices.

But Lau doesn't find the proposed prices of Valais appetising. "I have friends living in Beas River. They just paid HK$7,000 per square foot three years ago. It is getting expensive as prices have increased to HK$11,000 per square foot now," he said. "[But] at that price level, I would prefer to buy a house in Clearwater Bay as it is closer to my office in Kwun Tong."

Property agents, however, believe Valais would be sought after. Alfred Cheung, sales director at Centaline Property Agency's northwest New Territories branch, which focuses on broking luxury projects, said SHKP has created a loyal customer base in the mainland.

"They just buy the [SHKP] brand even if the project is located in a  remote area," he said.

Assuming the entry level price for a 2,600 square foot house will be set at about HK$30 million, or HK$11,600 per square foot, Cheung believes it to be reasonable. Given the high level of privacy, Cheung says movie stars and celebrities would be quite interested in Valais. — South China Morning Post
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