Hong Kong property

Fewer new flats sold over Christmas holidays this year

Christmas sales volume falls 20pc compared to last year, expert says

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 December, 2012, 1:59am

Hong Kong's property market is not benefiting from the Christmas spirit, with just a few new homes sold over the holiday period as the latest round of cooling measures bite.

"Christmas is a traditional low season for the property industry, but we saw much slower sales this year compared to a year ago," said Jeffrey Ng, the senior executive director of Hong Kong Property Services (Agency).

He said the exact Christmas sales data had yet to be finalised, but sales volume had dropped 20 per cent on December 25 and 26 compared with the same period last year.

Agents said that over the Christmas holidays, less than 10 flats were sold in The Reach in Yuen Long, a project jointly developed by Henderson Land Development and New World Development; Sino Land's Providence Bay in Tai Po, Chinachem Group's Pictorial Garden in Sha Tin and One West Kowloon in Lai Chi Kok.

Separately, since the introduction of the 15 per cent buyers' stamp duty, Ng said, sales in the luxury homes sector had declined significantly even before Christmas.

"Investors have nearly left the sector," he said.

Midland Realty director Sammy Po Siu-ming said most homebuyers preferred to stay on the sidelines as home prices had shown no sign of a big fall so far.

The Centa-City Leading Index, which tracks prices at 100 housing estates in the city, closed at 114.97 for the week to December 16, ending four consecutive weeks of falls after reaching a record 116.81 for the week of November 11. The index's base period uses the 100 recorded in the first week of July 1997.

"The market will become clearer when developers start releasing their new projects next month," Po said. "Their pricing strategy will certainly have an impact on secondary market transaction prices."

Ignoring the weakening market sentiment, Sun Hung Kai Properties said it would release three projects over the next two months amid the government's call to increase supply to meet the city's growing housing demands. The projects are The Wings' phase two development in Tseung Kwan O, Residence 88 in Yuen Long, and Imperial Kennedy in the Western district.

Victor Lui Ting, SHKP's deputy managing director, said the developer hoped to generate about HK$30,000 per square foot for Imperial Kennedy.

Po said he believed sales would rebound over the Lunar New Year on February 10 to 13 - a peak season for property.

"With expectations of an overall improvement over the upcoming Lunar New Year, some home seekers may buy early instead of waiting for the market to turn hot again," he said.