Old dense buildings in Hong Kong Photo: iStock

The bear market of possibly the world’s most expensive home market has ended.

Consider St Martin, a Tai Po project by Sun Hung Kai Properties, the biggest Hong Kong developer. Pre-sales of the first phase of the new home project next to Hong Kong Science Park were less than lackluster when it first launched last summer.

But the booming stock market this year on the positive expectations of the Sino-American trade war reversed a minor correction in the residential market, a sign of how people see the future of Hong Kong.

Now consumers are lining up – and even scrambling – to get a piece of the pricey unit.

According to Apple Daily, more than 10 buyers offered HK$6.07 million (US$778,000) for a 450 square foot unit, or about HK$13,500 per square foot.

As a result, the developer asked the agents to go into a separate room and determine the winner by playing the children’s game – rock, paper and scissors.

“We won,” said a cheerful agency director who asked not to be named, but confirmed the game took place on the 11th floor of the International Commerce Centre.

It is not uncommon for a developer to use different ways to determine who will win the unit, he said. In the past, picking a business card or even a ping pong ball was also used to determine the winner because the developer, as stated in the sales and purchase document of St Martin, can exercise discretion in the deal.

But it has to be fair in front of agents, just like the game rock, paper and scissors game, a generally accepted way to determine the winner in past decades. The stakes are high as agents normally take 1% to 2% in commission on the property sale.

A similar buyer response was seen last week when thousands queued up for a unit in New World Development’s Artisan Garden in To Kwa Wan in Kowloon. More than 2,000 units will be in the pipeline next month, taking advantage of the recovering home price weakness since August.

And the buying – combined with a slight increase in pricing – apparently showed that the market had returned after a six-month cool off period.

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