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HK agents end flat-buying tours from mainland

Sandy Li South China Morning Post 10/01/2011 22:44
HK agents end flat-buying tours from mainland - Hong Kong - Business - Real Estate - Property

Two major Hong Kong property agencies will stop organising flat-buying tour groups from the mainland during the "golden week" National Day holiday as credit tightening across the border starts to bite.

In the past two years, the agencies have been aggressive in bringing in hundreds of busloads of wealthy mainland investors to boost sales during the period.

"No group tours will be arranged this year, but our mainland branches will bring in individuals who are interested in visiting projects in Hong Kong," said Jeffrey Ng Chong-yip, director at Midland Realty.

Flat-buying tourists are now far fewer than a year ago because of declining investment interest as a result of Beijing's lending curbs and the worsening global economic outlook.

Furthermore, fewer new housing projects are being put up for sale in Hong Kong, contributing to lower numbers of flat-buying mainlanders visiting the city, Ng said.

Indeed, the number of prospective mainland buyers has plunged by as much as 50 per cent, compared with the first half of the year, said Andy Lee Yiu-chi, head of the Shenzhen branch of Centaline Property, which has branches across the .mainland.

"The increasingly tight credit conditions on the mainland have dampened buying interest [on the mainland] and in Hong Kong," Lee said.

About eight to 10 customers had expressed interest in visiting Hong Kong properties during the week-long holiday, Lee said.

However, the details had yet to be worked out, he said.

As some mainlanders would only be interested in shopping and sight-seeing, organising small flat-buying groups would achieve better sales than bringing in busloads of prospective buyers, he said.

Centaline would provide free transport for their clients, but they have to pay for accommodation if they decide to extend their stay in Hong Kong, he added.