Housing sales slide for two months in a row

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 November, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 November, 2000, 12:00am

Property transactions last month dropped 3.8 per cent to 7,562 deals, representing two consecutive months of decline.

The total value of sales and purchase agreements on building units registered with the Land Registry amounted to about HK$20.3 billion, down 6.2 per cent from September.

Agents said the decline in transaction volume was a reflection of a lack of strength for a property market recovery.

They said the transaction level reached a new height for this year of 10,473 and then progressively decreased.

Activity declined last month because the first-hand sales of Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) housing decreased substantially.

According to a survey by estate agent Midland Realty, only four HOS units were sold during the month, compared with 329 units in September, representing a 98.8 per cent decrease.

However, private residential deals increased over the same period, the agent said.

First-hand transactions amounted to 1,754 deals, up 7.5 per cent from September, with a sales value of HK$7.84 billion.

Les Saisons in Shau Kei Wan, Laguna Verde in Hunghom, and Baycrest in Ma On Shan were among the most popular projects for the month, Midland said.

Private secondary market deals rose 3.9 per cent to 4,901.

Transaction value amounted to HK$10.27 billion, up 6.4 per cent.

The agent said the Chief Executive's Policy Address in October did not deliver a clear housing policy, while the stock market had been volatile in recent weeks and new project launches were not satisfactory.

Midland predicted property transaction volume would continue to drop this month by 20 per cent.

Analysts said the property market had also been clouded by international securities houses' recent pessimistic comments.

UBS Warburg and Salomon Smith Barney both predicted residential prices would fall 10 per cent in the short term.

UBS blamed the Government's housing policy to provide 730,000 units in eight years, while Salomon said housing take-up had been weakened.