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Hong Kong property

Fewer Hongkongers say they will buy property in next 3 months after government moves to contain real estate prices, poll finds

Only 7 per cent of those surveyed will take action in purchasing flats, compared with 12 per cent in September, despite strong interest in ownership, Citibank says

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 January, 2017, 4:09pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 January, 2017, 4:24pm

Fewer Hongkongers intend to buy properties following the introduction of regulatory measures to curb real estate prices, even though interest in owning homes has not waned, a new survey says.

Out of the 500 Hongkongers polled last month, only 7 per cent said they would actually buy a flat in the next three months, a drop from a peak of 12 per cent in September, a Citibank survey showed.

The government raised the stamp duty on property transactions for non first-time buyers to 15 per cent for individuals and corporate buyers on November 5, the second increase in three years in a bid to tame soaring real estate prices in the world’s least affordable major city.

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Analysts said the results showed that Hongkongers were exercising more caution when it comes to purchasing properties despite the high demand for flats.

“The interest and demand is still there, but since the real impact and effects of the raised stamp duty on property prices are still unknown, people have become more cautious,” Citibank’s managing director Lawrence Lam Chi-kong said in a press conference on Thursday.

Some 18 per cent of those polled expressed a strong interest in owning a flat, a slight uptick of 1 percentage point compared with those polled in September. There was also a drop of 4 percentage points to 50 per cent for those who said they were not interested in December.

Lam added that demand for home ownership was also reflected in the survey results which found a majority of Hongkongers forecasting that property prices would continue to rise this year despite the new round of regulatory measures.

Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah earlier said at a Legislative Council meeting last month that the new measures had made some impact in cooling the property market, but insisted real effects on property prices would require more time.

Government data showed that the number of transactions for new flats last month slumped 79.8 per cent from November to 443. The total transaction value for new homes amounted to HK$9.19 billion last month, down 70.7 per cent from November.