Hong Kong luxury prices stagnate as new taxes bite
Analysts split on the impact new and higher stamp duties and loan curbs will have on sector
Luxury residential prices in Hong Kong stagnated in the final quarter of last year, following a sharp rise in the first three quarters that was dented by measures from the government to cool home prices.
Prices may continue to soften in the short term, according to Joseph Tsang, managing director of property consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle in Hong Kong.
Based on the company's residential price index, the value of luxury residential properties edged down 0.1 per cent quarter on quarter from October to December. Measured across the whole year, values rose 5 per cent compared with 2011.
Luxury residential properties include apartments, detached and semi-detached houses in traditional prime areas.
The Hong Kong government was one of several to introduce a series of cooling measures in the past few months to tame surging property prices.
The first wave of measures came in October, with the extension of special stamp duties on quick resales and introduction of an extra 15 per cent duty for corporate and non-permanent-resident buyers.
A second wave of measures was announced late last month by the government and the monetary authority. These included a doubling of stamp duty for all purchases of property valued at more than HK$2 million, as well as tighter mortgage lending conditions.
Tsang said these latest measures would reduce sales of homes, especially luxury ones, in the short term. There could also be a small drop in prices, he said.
But assuming the underlying fundamentals driving investment activity in the market remain in place, Jones Lang LaSalle believes prices are likely to find support once the market has had time to digest the new measures.
However, Patrick Chow Moon-kit, head of Ricacorp Properties' research department, said the luxury sector could be hit hard by the tax measures, which, he said, had forced expatriates, mainlanders and investors out of the market.