Quantitative easing (QE) refers to large-scale asset purchases by the US Federal Reserve to inject liquidity in the world’s biggest economy after the onset of the global financial crisis in late 2008. In September 2012, stubbornly high US unemployment and faltering economic growth prompted it to launch the third phase of this stimulus (QE3), under which it planned to buy US$40 billion worth of bonds per month, with no set end date. As of late 2012, it had bought some US$2.3 trillion in long-term securities. In December 2012 it announced it was increasing its QE3 purchases to US$85 billion a month.
Hong Kong second-hand flat prices rose 3pc in the month since QE3
Prices of second-hand homes in Hong Kong have risen by almost 3 per cent since the latest round of monetary easing in the United States on September 14, according to Centaline Property Agency.
However, sales volumes are down, partly because purchasing power shifted to the new housing market and buyers were becalmed by the government's short- and long-term measures to cool demand.
Centaline residential department managing director Louis Chan Wing-kit said buyers remained rational after a third round of monetary easing, or QE3, was announced in the US, and the result was that prices rose modestly, by 2.7 per cent.
The US Federal Reserve signalled at the same time that interest rates would remain low until 2015, but the Hong Kong Monetary Authority announced measures on the same day to tighten access to second mortgages in a bid to cool the market.
Data compiled by Centaline shows 32 flats sold at 10 selected housing estates over the September 15-16 weekend after the QE3 was announced. Weekend sales at the 10 estates ranged from 25 to 33 in the following weeks.
On the October 13-14 weekend, sales fell to 25, down from 33 the previous weekend, according to Centaline.
Chan said some owners became reluctant to sell in anticipation of higher prices in future, partly contributing to the drop in sales. Midland Realty said the drop in second-hand sales was also partly caused by buyers turning to new flats.
Developers are competing with each other to launch projects this quarter, and the new supply due to be released saw potential buyers withhold their purchasing decisions, according to Midland.
On Monday, billionaire property tycoon Lee Shau-kee said the city's property boom was likely to be over because there would be a big increase in new flats on the market under the government's plan. This would put the brakes on home price growth, he said.