Transactions rise boosts sentiment
The property market ended last year on a cautiously positive note, with last month's registered transactions recovering modestly on a sharp increase in primary residential sales.
About 6,600 property transactions were registered with the Land Registry last month, 15 per cent up from November, according to Midland Realty and Centaline Property Agency.
However, transaction volume for last year, estimated at about 98,385, was 11.75 per cent short of 1998, mainly due to the depressed market in the second half.
The fall in transactions was mainly due to more sluggish trade in the primary market amid developers' reluctance to sell new projects at deep discounts, analysts said.
It was estimated that developers sold far fewer units last year than in 1998.
The transaction figures were compiled separately by Midland and Centaline based on Land Registry records. The official figures are expected in the next few days.
Midland estimated there were 6,610 deals registered last month, 14.7 per cent up from November, while the value of transactions was $18.34 billion, up 17.4 per cent.
The agent said first-hand private residential transactions in the month increased 139.9 per cent to 1,545 deals with the value of sales jumping 131.8 per cent to $6.35 billion.
Secondary market residential transactions dropped 1 per cent to 4,252 deals and the value fell 0.3 per cent to $9.74 billion.
Centaline put the December transactions at 6,630 and the value at $18.3 billion.
It said the rise in first-hand transactions in December was mainly due to the launch of the Hong Kong Housing Society's Hollywood Plaza in Sheung Wan. The project sold 545 units for $1.89 billion.
Other first-hand deals included 265 units of Park Avenue at Olympic Station in Tai Kok Tsui and 175 units at Royal Jubilee in Sheung Shui.
According to Centaline, 98,385 property deals were made last year, down 11.75 per cent from the 1998 figure.
The value of transactions fell 24.73 per cent year-on-year to $256.6 billion.
First-hand transactions worth less than $20 million dropped as much as 41.2 per cent to 27,685 deals while the sales value fell 38.37 per cent to $85.2 billion, the agent said.
In contrast, secondary market activity picked up last year.
Transactions for properties worth less than $20 million climbed 9.5 per cent to 63,041 deals but their value dropped 10.4 per cent to $142 billion.