Home sales in the secondary market remained quiet last week as buyers were drawn to new releases by developers in a rush to clear their stock before new regulations on sales practices came into effect.
The Residential Properties (First-hand Sales) Ordinance, aimed at shielding buyers from dishonest sales practices, came into force on Monday and will affect the launch of new flats in the short term, say property analysts.
So far only two new sales brochures complying with the latest regulations published under the ordinance have been approved by the government.
Data from Ricacorp Properties shows only 102 secondary-market flats sold in the week ended Sunday on the 50 largest private estates it tracked, almost unchanged from the 99 transactions the previous week.
The numbers are significantly lower than the average of 204 sales in the past 12 months, and about 255 sales per week last year.
Sixteen estates recorded no transactions for the week, up from 15 the previous week.
In the new-home market, however, 101 flats were sold at the weekend, well up on the 62 sold during the previous weekend, according to BNP Paribas Securities. The sales included 19 flats at New World Development's The Riverpark at Sha Tin.
"The developers actively launched their unsold units with some discounts before the new ordinance became effective," BNP analysts Patrick Wong Chi-leung and Lee Wee Liat said in a report.
But new sales would be affected this week, as only Hong Kong Ferry's Green Code in Fanling and Swire Properties' Dunbar Place in Ho Man Tin had obtained approvals for their sales brochures under the new ordinance.
Therefore, only 331 new flats - 278 at Green Code and 53 at Dunbar Place - would be available for sale this week.
"Other projects will only be ready for sale after developers publish new sale brochures complying with the latest regulations one week before a sale," the analysts said.
Ricacorp's David Chan said as developers would need time to reschedule their new-project sales plans, the new-home market would become quieter. In this situation, secondary flat sales might rebound to about 120 in the 50 housing estates it is tracking this week.