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Opus tenant cancels deal to rent for HK$850k a month

Contract to lease duplex unit at luxury project for HK$850,000 a month terminated in wake of government measures to cool property market

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2012, 2:58pm

A tenant who agreed to pay HK$850,000 a month for a 6,000-square-foot duplex flat at Opus Hong Kong on Stubbs Road near the Peak has cancelled the deal amid tightening housing policies that have curbed property demand.

Swire Properties said in a statement that "it placed the duplex at Opus back on the market for lease. The previous tenant of the apartment has decided not to proceed with the rental. We reserve our legal rights on the matter as and when necessary."

It said the sale of two other 6,500 sq ft flats at the project had been completed.

A unit on the eighth floor was sold for HK$430 million, while a ninth floor flat fetched HK$455 million.

Banks are expected to offer additional sweeteners to compete for homebuyers as mortgage loan growth continues to contract because of the latest round of cooling measures, according to mortgage consulting firm mReferral Mortgage Brokerage Services.

Mortgage loans would drop 13 per cent this year to HK$198 billion as a result of a spate of government policies to cool the overheated housing market.

"It will be the lowest since 2009," said Sharmaine Lau Yuen-yuen, the chief economist at mReferral.

Lau said the number of mortgage loans was likely to drop a further 10 per cent to about 9,000 next month.

"The next two months' loan figures will reflect the impact of the government curbs on the residential market," she said.

Facing a tough year ahead, Lau said banks had to come up with more incentives such as cash rebates to drum up loan business.

She ruled out the possibility of a mortgage pricing war given there was no further room for a cut in interest rates.

The effective mortgage rate now is 2.15 per cent, which was on the low side, she said.

"Banks' profit margins have been squeezed by such low rates and it is hard to offer more cuts," she said.

Lau said the number of inquiries for mortgage loans had dropped 60 per cent in the first two weeks after the introduction of new stamp duties on October 27. The measures include an additional 15 per cent stamp duty on purchases by corporate investors and non-permanent residents.

The government also raised by five percentage points a special stamp duty on sellers that was introduced two years ago to curb speculation. It also extended the rule on resales to three years. The rates now range from 10 to 20 per cent.


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