The Year of the Dragon is a big year for marriages and babies. So what do Hong Kong’s Dragon couples and Dragon babies need? Dragon dens, of course. That’s good news for Hong Kong’s property developers.
It sure has been a rough ride for the likes of Sun Hung Kai Properties and Henderson Land Development. Property transactions fell to a five-year low in 2011, with the Hang Seng Property Index finishing the year down more than 20%. According to the latest Forbes Hong Kong rich list, real-estate developers saw their wealth decline last year. Li Ka-shing—still the richest in the territory—was 8% poorer than in 2010. Not only is it a Dragon year, but it’s also a leap year, according to the Chinese lunar calendar, with 13 months. The extra month is to synchronize the lunar year, which has 354 days, with the astronomical year, which has 365.25 days. The extra month makes it possible to have two “springs” in the year, which is auspicious. In Chinese, the word “spring” has connotations of fertility.
According to Citigroup, more people tend to marry in these lucky years. Marriages rose 12% year-on-year in the auspicious years of 2001, 2004, 2006 and 2009, compared with 1% in the “normal” years. Home prices also went up more in the good years—14% on-year, compared to 2% in other years. With an estimated 60,000 couples in Hong Kong registered to get hitched this year, that should give a good shot in the arm to the city’s real-estate market, says Citi.