Prices of large flats in New Territories lead sector rally

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 July, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 July, 1999, 12:00am

Prices of mass residential flats in urban housing estates and larger flats in the New Territories have rebounded strongly since October.

Price indices compiled by the Rating and Valuation Department show that large flat prices in popular housing developments in the New Territories outperformed the market with a 25.5 per cent recovery from October to May.

Prices of small to medium-sized flats in urban housing estates rose 20.1 per cent in the seven-month period.

Those of smaller flats in the New Territories rose 15.8 per cent in the same period, while prices of larger flats in urban areas rose 16.1 per cent.

Analysts said the strong rebound in prices for large flats in the New Territories could be because the sector had been among the hardest hit by the property slump.

However, price movements might have been distorted by the limitations of the survey, which included a small number of large New Territories properties, the analysts said.

Property activity and buying momentum had eased in recent months, especially in the large flat sector, as the market took a breather after the rallies, analysts said.

Centaline Property Agency managing director Shih Wing-ching said the market for flats valued at less than $3 million had been more active as fewer buyers were interested in more expensive units.

The slower take-up for large flats was also reflected by the response to recent new project sales, whereby those units remaining unsold were mostly larger and more expensive ones, he said.

Government figures showed that prices for larger homes in May were slightly down from April.

The statistics are based on transacted prices in 50 completed housing developments on Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories. The developments include Beverly Hills, Dynasty Court, Taikoo Shing, Whampoa Garden and Discovery Bay.

Small to medium-sized units are those with saleable areas of up to 1,075 square feet or less.

According to the provisional figures, average prices of small to medium-sized flats in all selected estates surged 17.9 per cent from October to May but were still 42.7 per cent below the peak levels of 1997.

Prices of large flats had risen 18.3 per cent since last October but were 45.1 per cent lower than 1997 peak level.

Analysts said the stronger pick-up in urban residential prices was within expectations and justified because the supply of new flats in city areas, though slightly up from previous years, remained tight.

Most of the new flats due for release in the coming years were expected to be located in the New Territories.