Grosvenor in Talks to Acquire Two Hong Kong Residential Sites

Grosvenor Group Ltd., the real- estate company owned by the family trust of Britain’s Duke of Westminster, is in talks to acquire two Hong Kong sites that it plans to develop into luxury housing projects.

One of the sites may be on Hong Kong Island while the other would be near the Clear Water Bay area of the Sai Kung district, Nicholas Loup, chief executive for Asia-Pacific at Grosvenor, said in an interview in the city yesterday. He declined to give details of the sites and their exact locations.

Hong Kong home prices -- especially of luxury properties -- have surged 46 percent since the beginning of 2009 on the back of record low mortgage rates and an influx of mainland Chinese buyers. To rein in prices, the government has raised down payment ratios on luxury and investment properties and is selling more land to developers.

“If you look at the typical cycles in Hong Kong, when the market moved quickly, at some point it’s going to level off or cool a bit,” said Loup. “But the medium-to-long-term view is still very positive.”

Home transactions in the city have contracted about 33 percent since Aug. 13 when the government announced its latest measures to rein in home prices, according to Centaline Property Agency Ltd. The government has said it may introduce more measures to curb values if prices keep going up.

The two projects planned by Grosvenor in Hong Kong will be joint development with partners, said Loup.

Loup was speaking at the Westminster Terrace, a project jointly developed by Grosvenor and Hong Kong-based Asia Standard International Group Ltd. in Tsuen Wan, a district northwest of the city center.

The development consists of 59 duplexes ranging from 3,200 square feet to 6,500 square feet.

Prices of luxury homes, defined by the government as those valued at HK$10 million ($1.3 million) or more, or with areas 1,000 square feet or larger, may rise 10 percent over the next 12 months because of low interest rates, according to a property broker Colliers International Ltd.

To contact the reporters on this story: Kelvin Wong in Hong Kong at kwong40@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andreea Papuc at apapuc1@bloomberg.net

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