Q & A with our experts
Q: I read in a newspaper that Cheung Kong paid a high price for a waterfront site at Tsuen Wan West station last week. I own a two-bedroom flat at Vision City and plan to buy a bigger flat in the same estate. Do you think prices in the area will go up further? Should I sell my flat and buy a bigger one now?
A: Yes, the property market has benefited from the surprisingly good sale of the Tsuen Wan West station site. I think it would be all right to buy a bigger flat, subject to your financial situation. There is little chance that property prices will drop significantly because the new government has no intention of introducing measures to dampen the market, and interest rates should remain low for some time. However, there are not many three-bedroom flats on offer at Vision City, as demand is strong. I advise you to keep an eye on the flats when they become available for sale and then you can decide what offers to make.
Richard Lee Chi-sing is chief executive at Hong Kong Property Services (Agency).
Q: I own a 508 square foot flat in Ma On Shan Centre. I bought it for more than HK$1.5 million in 2007. Property agents now tell me the value of my flat has grown to more than HK$3 million. I could generate an attractive profit if I sold, but should I do so now? Do you think I could make more if I sold next year?
A: The answer depends on factors such as the supply of new flats in the district, interest rates, and the economic outlook. I don't have a crystal ball to predict them all but regarding the supply of flats in Ma On Shan, there are some projects poised to be launched and their prices will not be low. Therefore, you may hold your property for a while before selling. However, if this is the only flat you have, I suggest you do not sell, because it will be difficult to find another flat with this price tag on the market.
Vincent Chan Kwan-hing is the executive director and chief executive of residential department at Midland Holdings.
Q: Is it common for flat owners to offer discounts to buyers because the owners have pets? I have two dogs and recently I have been trying to sell my apartment. The agency told me that one potential buyer was asking if I could lower the price because of the pets. Should I cut the price, and if so by how much?
A: Whether a flat owner has pets in a residence does not affect the value of the property in general. If the deed of mutual covenant prohibits the tenants from keeping pets, then the management company of your building may contact you to discuss the matter. But this does not affect the buying and the selling price. Some buyers may not like flats with pets because they are concerned about the smell. But whatever smell there may be will be gone after renovation so this is not a big problem. The buyer may simply be using this factor to bargain for a better price.
Willy Liu Wai-keung is chief executive of Ricacorp Properties.