Hong Kong’s two biggest real estate agents, Midland Realty and Centaline Property Agency, are ready to hand out “lai see” money totalling about HK$900,000 (US$116,000) to their agents as an incentive to sell flats during the Lunar New Year holiday.
Meanwhile, Henderson Land Development will give away lai see of as much as HK$23,000 to each buyer at eight residential projects going on sale from now until the end of the month. The Year of the Ox begins today (Friday, February 12).
From now until February 14, Midland Realty will reward agents with HK$2,000 in lai see for every flat they sell, and half that amount for every one they manage to lease, said Sammy Po Siu-ming, chief executive of the agency’s residential department.
“We expect to give away about HK$400, 000 to HK$500,000 lai see in total as incentives to encourage sales,” said Po.
Hongkongers traditionally hand out lai see – red paper packets filled with “lucky money” – during Lunar New Year, as well as on auspicious occasions like birthdays and weddings.
To generate more sales commission revenue, Midland had already started to offer incentives to its sales representatives ahead of the Lunar New Year.
From February 4 to 11, it gave them a red packet containing HK$500 for every transaction – both rentals and sales – achieved in the primary and secondary market.
Last year, on the first weekend of the Year of the Rat – January 25 and 26 – there were four transactions recorded at 10 major housing estates tracked by Midland Realty.
That was a drop of 69 per cent from the previous weekend, Midland said, partly because of the festive season and also because Hong Kong had just reported the first positive Covid-19 case.
Centaline this year will set aside HK$400,000 for lai see, the same amount as last year.
During the whole of February, Centaline will give a cash reward of at least HK$10,000 to any agent who manages to sell a new flat. They will receive bigger cash rewards if they manage to sell units worth more than HK$10 million.
A huge windfall of HK$90,000 will come the way of anyone lucky enough to sell a new property for more than HK$50 million.
On top of the cash reward, the agents will also receive a HK$500 lai see packet for every sale and lease transaction they manage until February 16.
“We have handed out 195 lai see packets each containing HK$500 in the first five days since we started the incentive scheme,” said Louis Chan, Asia-Pacific vice-chairman and chief executive of the residential division at Centaline.
“To serve our clients, a number of our branches will not close on the first two days of Lunar New Year. All outlets will resume operations on Sunday [February 14],” he said. The Lunar New Year holiday will run from February 12 to 15.
Henderson Land Development will offer lai see packets to boost sales of eight residential projects from Friday until the end of the month. The projects include Reach Summit’s Sereno Verde Phase 5 in Yuen Long, Novum West in Sai Ying Pun, and Novum East in Quarry Bay.
Buyers of units smaller than 360 square feet would receive HK$13,800, while those opting for bigger units would get HK$23,800, the developer said.
“Sales of all residential projects will operate as usual during the Lunar New Year. The property exhibition centre at Miramar Plaza will have a series of events to celebrate the Year of the Ox,” said Henderson’s sales general manager Thomas Lam Tat-man.