Armageddon Mayhem to Follow Tung Chung Property Price Collapse Disaster Massacre

As the last howls of anguish about unaffordable housing echo through Hong Kong’s avenues and alleyways, a new and contrasting chorus of screeching and wailing rises to warn the city of an even greater peril: property prices that are too low. The dread prospect of the middle class being able to purchase a home and still have enough cash left over for food follows the dismal failure of our leading real estate company, the Lands Department, to auction a scrap of reclamation out at Tung Chung for the sort of bubble-about-to-burst sum that seemed inevitable a few weeks back.

Yesterday’s land auction. The government will invest the revenue raised in continued research and training to perfect the you-wouldn’t-believe-how-important-we-are looks on the faces of Lands Department pen-pushers.

The developer that won the auction, privately held Nan Fung – accustomed to making do with inferior lots the big boys don’t want – had to bid against itself to meet the reserve price. The lack of interest shown by Cheung Kong, Sun Hung Kai and the other cartel leaders is probably due to weakening market sentiment and upcoming auctions for bigger and better locations. But the Standard’s fictitious columnist Mary Ma floats the possibility that the barons are boycotting government land sales to protest new rules that make it slightly harder for them to rip off people deluded or desperate enough to buy their nasty overpriced rabbit hutches.

They have done this before; it was back in the old days when the Hong Kong government measured its total reserves in billions rather than trillions and genuinely needed the flow of revenue from land sales. The developers have less clout these days (not that officials realize it). So the ‘Mary Ma’ theory, we can safely assume, is an attempt by the Sing Tao Group’s proprietor to help out his fellow tycoons/advertisers by starting a lame rumour: if this wanton persecution of innocent property moguls continues, the righteous wrath of the cartel shall be visited upon the government’s fiscal well-being for this and for 10 generations to come.

According to the Business Week article, the auction price of HK$2,426 a square foot translates into apartments going for HK$4,500 a square foot. This is 7% above current home prices in the far-flung pollution trap that is Tung Chung – hence the panicky, wrist-slashing, end-of-civilization tone of the Standard’s bed-wetting reporters in their story about the seller who had to trim his asking price from HK$2.8mn to HK$2.65mn.  “Small concrete box beneath mosquito-infested hills out near airport worth less than gullible nonentity thought! Read all about it!” The horror.

To quote today’s guest artiste, singing some of the most erudite lines ever composed on the subject of Hong Kong’s property-scam pyramid scheme:

…everybody’s wheeling
everybody’s stealing
all the low are living high.
Every city’s got em
can we ever stop em
some of us are gonna try.

Or then again maybe not.

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7 Responses to Armageddon Mayhem to Follow Tung Chung Property Price Collapse Disaster Massacre

  1. Pointless says:

    Why all this obsession with property prices?None of it is worth having in Hong Kong so what’s the point? Speaking for myself I would sooner sleep on the beach on Cheung Chau than live in a Hong Kong flat, breathing that air, seeing that view and meeting all those horrible people in the lift every day.

  2. Bigot says:

    Have to admire those two pen pushers though. Where on earth did they learn such a skill in keeping a straight face while being put in stitches by the foolhardy, sadistic and self-deprecating lonely bidder?

  3. Stephen says:

    Wonder what iconic gem Nan Fung will develop on the site – will it be as scary as Caribbean Coast?

  4. Canny Chan says:

    Privately-held Nan Fung’s Chairman is highly respected Chen Din Hwa. He is godfather to the property interests here and acts as a cash reserve (“co-investor”) when one of them needs a quick billion or two to complete a project.

    In return, from time to time, they stand back by mutual agreement as a group and let him buy a piece of land at a discount (like this one). If you don’t believe me, try to find the last time Nan Fung bought a piece of land at a contested auction.

    Thus, Nan Fung gets a cheap piece of land, the tycoons give face to Chen Din Hwa and thereby renew their contract with him, and it sends a useful reminder to HKG about who really runs this town.

    It’s as simple as that.

  5. gunlaw says:

    The day before the auction Cheung Kong offered to sell all its car-park spaces in the vicinity for 12% more than its 2009 failed attempt to do the same. The offer stands for the next week. Or not anymore.

  6. MarcFaber says:

    Shouldn’t we rename the Hemlock blog? Something like THE HONG KONG PROPERTY WHINGE PAGE. If you haven’t got the money, honey, get out of the auction.

  7. Dane says:

    Sorry, but “Far Flung Pollution Trap”? Please. Since moving to Tung Chung, I have consistently checked the EPD website every single day, ( and found the pollution in Tung Chung to often be the lowest in Hong Kong. Things have changed since 2003.

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