Hong Kong property deals pick up ahead of government budget as buyers anticipate further relaxation of curbs

Hong Kong property deals pick up ahead of government budget as buyers anticipate further relaxation of curbs

Hong Kong property deals pick up ahead of government budget as buyers anticipate further relaxation of curbs

Secondary market transactions in Hong Kong flats jumped last week, as buyers took advantage of seven-year low prices, amid expectations the government may unveil a possible further relaxation of property cooling measures at Wednesday’s government budget.

Deal volumes in 35 major housing estates rose 72.4 per cent week-on-week to 50 transactions, according to property brokerage Midland Realty. It was a five-week high, fuelled by transactions in Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, which recorded increases of over 1.5 times and 1.3 times, respectively, according to Buggle Lau Ka-fei, Midland’s chief strategist.

“Potential buyers who find prices of their preferred units reasonable are acting quickly as bargain offers may be withdrawn by the sellers after the budget is announced,” Lau said.

Demands from the industry have included scrapping the curbs, such as a special stamp duty applied to a residential property resold within 24 months, a buyers’ stamp duty for non-permanent residents and a double stamp duty on flats for second-time purchasers.

A woman looking at residential property advertisements outside a property agency branch in Quarry Bay. 17FEB24 Photo: Edmond So

A 2,178 sq ft detached house at the Vineyard in Yuen Long was sold at HK$19 million (US$2.4 million), according to Jimmy Liu, a Midland luxury property agent in New Territories.

Liu said the buyer is a local resident who began his search in the northern metropolitan area half a year ago.

Hong Kong home prices fall for ninth month, intensify calls for lifting curbs

“There is a sense that property prices have declined significantly and so the buyer decided to pull the trigger before the government budget,” he added.

A two-bedroom 415 sq ft unit in New Kwai Fong Gardens in Kwai Chung was sold at around HK$5 million, a 10 per cent discount over the original asking price.

The property agent responsible for the transaction said the buyer offered HK$4.9 million, but then raised the offer and put down a deposit of HK$15,000, pre-empting moves by other home seekers.

Still, Midland’s Buggle expects secondary home transaction volumes in February to fall 15 per cent month on month to 2,000 deals and added the transaction levels in March will largely depend on the government decision on Wednesday.

Hong Kong’s lived-in home prices fell for the ninth straight month in January, dropping 1.57 per cent and dragging the city’s official home price index down to a level last seen in 2016, government data showed.
The sustained decline strengthened the case for the withdrawal of property cooling measures, on the eve of the government’s budget announcement, developers and industry players said. Hong Kong’s government and its monetary authority have implemented a range of duties and rules to cool the city’s hot property market since 2010.
The official price index of second-hand units declined to 306.4 in January, down from 311.3 in December and the lowest since a 304.3 reading in October 2016, according to the Rating and Valuation Department.

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