RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Hong Kong crisis deals $59.68b blow to property tycoons

CK Asset, Wharf and Sun Hung Kai are some of the property firms that took a big hit.

After months of protests and Covid-19 restrictions, Hong Kong’s biggest property tycoons are feeling the pinch.

At Peter Woo’s Wharf Real Estate Investment Co., retail rental income plunged by almost a third in the first half of the year, leading to a loss and a $7.4b (US$955m) hit to its portfolio. Revenue from Hong Kong property sales at Li Ka-shing’s CK Asset Holdings slumped by more than 60%. The Kwoks’s Sun Hung Kai Properties slashed rents for some tenants, whilst the biggest landlord in the Central district said its vacancy rate rose to 5% at the end of June from 2.9% in December.

With Covid-19 preventing tourists from coming and the national security law threatening Hong Kong’s status as a financial hub, the fortune that property moguls have amassed is suddenly shrinking. To make matters worse for them, the city’s financial secretary urged landlords to offer tenants concessions on rents—some of the world’s highest—to ride out a crisis that a resurgence of coronavirus cases is now taking to unchartered territory.

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