Few things divide opinion quite like property in Hong Kong. With prices still rising despite external uncertainties, even top officials are unsure. Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah says the market is caught between 'ice and fire', and risks are rising. Hong Kong Monetary Authority chief executive Norman Chan Tak-lam says he can't see the outlook with certainty, but is prepared to introduce tightening measures if necessary.
The market is also sending out mixed messages. While some property owners in Tai Koo Shing are paying the special stamp duty (SSD) - the tax the government imposes to 'punish' short-term trading - to sell for a quick profit, others are paying the SSD to sell, at a loss, in the New Territories. While property remains a popular investment vehicle, buyers should remain vigilant over changing market conditions.
In this issue, we have a summary of new properties for the second half of the year, starting with Opus, designed by the legendary architect Frank Gehry. We also have a story about the upcoming mandatory use of saleable area, a measure that brings some much-needed transparency to buyers.