Hong Kong developers Sino Land, Hysan expect last year’s ‘uncertainties’ to loom over city’s property sector this year as well

Hong Kong developers Sino Land, Hysan expect last year’s ‘uncertainties’ to loom over city’s property sector this year as well

Hong Kong developers Sino Land, Hysan expect last year’s ‘uncertainties’ to loom over city’s property sector this year as well

Sino Land said that its profit in the July-to-December period last year – the first six months of its financial year – rose 6.5 per cent to HK$2.6 billion (US$332 million) even as revenue fell by about 23 per cent to HK$4.92 billion. Its property sales jumped 70 per cent to HK$6.63 billion.

The developer has a net cash position of about HK$43.3 billion after taking into account debts of HK$832 million.

“The global economy is recovering from the pandemic,” Robert Ng Chee Siong, Sino Land’s chairman, said in the report. “Meanwhile, a number of macro factors are at play, such as geopolitics, international trade frictions, uncertainty over the interest rate hike cycle and supply chain rebalancing, which may all affect the pace of recovery.

“The group is cautiously optimistic about the Hong Kong property market.”

The firm has projects in Hong Kong as well as mainland China, where the real estate sector continues to reel from an economic slowdown.

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In Hong Kong, interest rates at a 22-year high have dragged on demand for homes and investment. Last year, a total of 58,035 properties changed hands in the city, a 2.7 per cent drop compared with 2022 and the lowest figure since 1991, according to official data. The total value of transactions plunged 13.8 per cent year on year to a 10-year low of HK$477.9 billion, government data shows.

On the mainland, meanwhile, consumers have increasingly lost confidence in the property sector after a handful of major developers, such as China Evergrande Group, were unable to repay loans and deliver projects on time.

In December, the prices of new homes in 70 medium and large mainland cities fell 0.4 per cent month on month after a 0.3 per cent drop in November, according to official data. It was the steepest monthly decline in new home prices since February 2015.

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Real estate investment fell by 9.6 per cent to 11.09 trillion yuan (US$1.5 trillion) last year, about the same as the decline in 2022.

“The group will stay vigilant and agile amid the ever-changing macro environment in 2024,” Ng said.

Sino Land is set to hand out a dividend of HK$0.15 per share, to be payable on April 17.

Meanwhile, Hysan, the largest landlord in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay commercial district, said its losses in 2023 narrowed by about a quarter to HK$872 million, while underlying profit declined 14 per cent to HK$1.8 billion.

The global and local economic outlook this year “remains uncertain”, Irene Lee Yun-lien, Hysan’s chairman, said in the report. Last year, “presented a mix of challenges and opportunities for Hysan”, she added.

The office, retail and residential segments of Hysan’s business were down between 6.7 per cent and 7.2 per cent for the year, the financial report said.

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“This was a year of global upheaval as the world gradually recovered from the pandemic,” Lee said. “Many continuing and new challenges, including ongoing geopolitical tensions, escalating geoeconomic fragmentation, interest rate hikes, inflation concerns and the increasing frequency of extreme weather events were impediments to recovery.”

Hysan announced a dividend of HK$0.81 per share, to be payable on March 22.

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