Q: My employer pays me a monthly rental allowance of over HK$10,000 and I am entitled to this for two more years. I have been using it to rent an apartment, but as property prices keep climbing, I am thinking about buying. Should I give up the rental allowance now or wait till later?
A: I think the current economic environment is favourable for buying property because there are factors such as lower interest rates. Otherwise the government would not have launched another round of cooling measures last month.
Therefore I think property prices will continue to climb, unless the economy suddenly shrinks. If you have enough money on hand and can afford a flat, you can consider buying now.
Louis Chan Wing-kit is the managing director of Centaline Property Agency
Q: My husband and I want to buy a flat, but we already have a property, which is now solely in my name. To avoid the government's recent imposition of double stamp duty on second-home buyers, we are planning to buy another, bigger flat under my husband's name.
However, practically, we will both pay for the flats, so will the mortgage lender consider only my husband's financial status when doing the stress test?
We think financially it will be easier for us to get through the test if the bank takes my salary into consideration as well.
Can you advise?
A: The doubling of stamp duty targets buyers who already own a property under their name. However, if either you or your husband is already a mortgage borrower or loan guarantor and you are planning to pay for the new flat together, the Inland Revenue Department may investigate the case.
Ivy Wong Mei-fung is the managing director at Centaline Mortgage Broker
Q: My child will soon turn one year old and we are considering moving to Kowloon Tong or Kowloon City because those areas have many prestigious schools and he will stand a higher chance of getting into one of them.
Including our maid, there are four in our household, and we have a budget of HK$28,000 per month for rental or HK$9 million for buying a flat.
What are the options on the market?
A: The rental level in the area is about HK$30 per square foot in terms of gross floor area, so your budget will cover the rent for a 900 square metre apartment in, for example, Broadcast Drive, College Road, and Beacon Hill. With a budget of HK$9 million, you can consider the flats on Broadcast Drive, which are between 30 and 40 years old.
As the price per sq ft based on gross floor area is about HK$11,000, and that based on saleable area about HK$13,750, your budget can allow you to buy an apartment with a gross floor area of about 800 sq ft.
Eugene Cheung Yue-chi is a senior district manager at Centaline Property Agency