Questions remain to be answered

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 January, 2011, 12:00am

As experts assess prospects for the local property market this year, two factors are foremost on their minds: will interest rates rise and will the government announce further measures to cool the market?

The key to the former is across the Pacific Ocean, in the hands of Ben Bernanke, chairman of the US Federal Reserve, while the answer to the latter lies in Lower Albert Road.

Secretary for Transport and Housing Eva Cheng has said government measures to crack down on property speculation have been effective, based on the amount of speculative activities since November, when the measures were introduced. She added the government would continue to monitor market conditions and would enact further measures if necessary.

In the cover story on the global outlook for this year, we put the local conditions into regional and international context.

Despite government intervention in Hong Kong, the mainland and Singapore, markets have held relatively firm, especially the luxury sector.

Happy Valley is rarely in the news, but it is a district that residents say few want to leave, so it deserves a good look.

Elsewhere, we take you to some of the best winter holiday homes in Europe, including a golfing resort in Scotland.

Also, we show how technology can make your home healthy with a special report on electrical appliances. Then, after a long day, what better way is there to relax than enjoying the best movies or music in the comfort of a digitally tuned, luxury home?