Cautious optimism

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 January, 2011, 12:00am

As we welcome a new year and say goodbye to 2010, property companies are taking stock. Despite the government's measures to cool the property sector since late November, real estate agents are pointing to an extremely rewarding year for the market. Thanks to record prices and heavy volumes, some developers are giving handsome pay rises, while some real estate agents are reporting their best year ever, exceeding the previous market peak in 1997. Realtors remain convinced the sector and prices will remain strong in the long-term. 'The property market is the cornerstone of Hong Kong's economy, and nobody wants to see it collapse,' says a seasoned property consultant.

But many sellers are refusing to lower their prices and buyers are being cautious, resulting in a stalemate.

Many expect unsold properties to be leased out, flooding the rental market with additional supply. Our cover story has unearthed a different scenario. Realtors find there are relatively few cases of luxury properties for sale being turned into rentals, so supply remains tight and rents are not dropping.

In this issue, we also look at the mortgage market, which is seeing slow business, but still offers attractive rates. In this holiday season, we bring you a sleek preview of wonderful ski resort homes in Japan and the United States.

Last but not least, we are launching our first special supplement, LuxeInterior, where top interior designers and celebrated Chinese chef Walter Kei, who is also a design consultant, will share bright ideas on how to freshen up homes and kitchens.