• Thu
  • Aug 21, 2014
  • Updated: 5:57pm
NewsHong Kong

Cooling of property market necessary, says housing minister

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 February, 2013, 4:04pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 February, 2013, 8:36pm

The government had to introduce new measures in order to stop the residential property market overheating, Secretary for Housing and Transport Anthony Cheung Bing-leung said on Saturday.

“We all remember how the Asian financial crisis hit our economy in 1997. If the government does not intervene now, there is a chance the impact could be more serious than 1997 when the bubble burst,” explained Cheung.

The new measures, announced on Friday, include doubling stamp duties across the board for both housing and non-residential properties. Stamp duty for properties valued below HK$2 million will rise from HK$100 to 1.5 per cent of transaction values.

However, first-time buyers and those not owning other residential properties will be exempt.

Cheung said: “We are facing a red-hot property market and the risk of a bubble is rising.”

Executive Council member Barry Cheung Chun-yuen, who is also the chairman of the Urban Renewal Authority, said the new measures were unlikely to affect renewal projects.

“The aim of the new measures is to cool down the market – instead of obstructing renewal projects,” he said.

Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, a member of the National People’s Congress standing committee, said the public would welcome the new measures. But Fan warned they also risked causing a drop in property values.

 

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caractacus
Cybertect is correct as far as he goes, but he does not identify the real cause of the problem or the solution. It is not prosperity causing rocketing property prices, but CORRUPTION; a deliberate policy by the previous administration and its tycoon cronies to create a shortage of land supply, cutting residential building and abolitishing protection for tenants, so prices would rise, the tycoons rapeD the Hong Kong economy and squeezeD the people. There has been no effective enforcement of money laundering laws to stop mainland investors smuggling corrupt cash into our property market. One wonders why little or no action has been taken. Who has benefited most from this turning of the blind eye by our officials, Customs and Police?
Interest rates have been kept intentionally low by governments around the world to reduce the cost of sovereign debt and presumably stimulate an economic recovery, but instead it has only driven capital into inflating property prices.
A short term solution is rent control with increases limited to the rate of inflation, the return of tenant protection and a big government residential building programme - on brownfield sites and not at the expense of our natural environment. In the long term the government must shift revenue emphasis away from land and towards a broader based tax system. The Heung Yee **** must be crushed. Government has yet to learn the lesson that its duty is to all the people, not just the select, privileged few.
Cybertect
In response to this article, I believe that Hong Kong is "Suffering by Prosperity" - It seems almost unbelievable that in an era of global recession and economic collapse where we see the deconstruction of well being and the stability of society put to its test in the ravage countries of the failed economic world, that we find Hong Kong, a prosperous city by global standards, suffering by prosperity. In fact the phenomenon is new to the modern age of economics that we have pockets of high prosperity and capital concentration, but these pockets are suffering from untenable levels of inflation, price rises, cost of living hikes, sky rocketing property prices. The societal structure of the lower, middle and upper classes have now been stretched by the fact that prosperity of the wealthy, mainly powered by the ownership of property and the stratospheric rise in the price of land and property, means that the basic unit of growth cannot sustain our basic life. It is now almost impossible to imagine having a job that would pay enough and have good enough prospects for the average person to start from scratch to own a home. Once he realizes that there is no such hope, his life is destroyed in the sense that he will never be with certainty and confidence be able to plan to set up foundations for his family's secure well being, nor be able to be creative and entrepreneurial with the efforts of his industry and hard work. Hong Kong had been built on such spirit, and now its too hard.
 
 
 
 
 

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