Developers play down housing huddle with Lam

Shares of local developers dived on news that Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor will meet with the Real Estate Developers Association of Hong Kong today to talk about housing policy.

Real estate giants closed lower after paring losses on the stock market despite a surge in the benchmark Hang Seng Index.

Among them, New World Development tumbled by 1.32 percent to HK$33.70, the worst performer.

Henderson Land posted a 1.08 percent drop to HK$31.95 and Sun Hung Kai Properties decreased by 0.59 percent to HK$101.10.

Also, CK Asset inched down 0.33 percent to HK$45.40.

Stewart Leung Chi-kin, chairman of REDA’s executive committee, told that he received an invitation from the government to the meeting but the agenda was not available.

At least 10 to 20 seniors of development companies will join the event arranged at the Central Government Offices, report said.

Leung said there should not be anything unusual about the meeting as authorities invite developers to join discussions on housing and land-related issues after the release of the policy address every year.

This helps strengthen the understanding between the two sides, Leung said.

This came after Lam proposed a new Northern Metropolis in the policy address.

The 30,000-hectare Northern Metropolis, expected to be finished in 20 years to accommodate 2.5 million people, was unveiled on October 6 – three years after she proposed constructing an artificial island from a 1,700-hectare reclamation near Lantau to ease the city’s housing shortage.

Before that, mainland officials delivered a message in closed-door meetings this year amid broader efforts to bring the city to heel under a sweeping national security law and make it more “patriotic,” Reuters reported in September.

The report cited three major developers and a Hong Kong government adviser familiar with the talks.

However, Leung responded that he never heard about Beijing meeting members of the association, after the Reuters report.

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