HONG KONG ECONOMY
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Li Ka-shing

10pc fall in Hong Kong home prices ‘nothing special’, Li Ka-shing says

Billionaire expects business environment for different industries to become tougher in 2016

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 January, 2016, 10:13pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 January, 2016, 10:13pm

Billionaire Li Ka-shing has described a 10 per cent fall in Hong Kong home prices as “nothing special” as the business environment is getting tougher this year.

“This year, people in different industries will have to work harder ... Retail [sales] are falling, the import and export business is declining while hotel [operators] also see lower income,” he said ahead of the annual dinner held by his group of companies – CK Hutchison Holdings and Cheung Kong Property Holdings – on Thursday.

On the Hong Kong property market, he said the performance would hinge on whether the supply and demand of flats could strike a balance.

“Home prices will climb as demand soars but fall when demand is squeezed in a depressed economy,” he said.

He also said stock prices could go up and come down. “It happens worldwide,” he said.

Li’s comments came after the Hang Seng Index slid 3.1 per cent yesterday to close at 20,333.34 points, its worst finish since July 2013. The drop also marked its steepest daily percentage decline since late August, when a meltdown in mainland markets sparked a global sell-off.

CK Hutchison shed 2.05 per cent to HK$100.40, but Cheung Kong Property bucked the trend by adding 0.32 per cent to HK$47.55.

READ MORE: Hong Kong home prices going down in 2016 but BNP Paribas says down cycle may be all too brief

Homebuying interest has been subdued after prices started to fall in the fourth quarter of last year.

Centaline Property Agency said its Centa-City Leading Index, which tracks secondary home prices at 100 estates, fell to 135.89 points for the last week of December. The index has lost 7 per cent from its peak in September.

Owners have been forced to cut prices by as much as HK$2 million, with units in some estates being sold at their lowest prices since 2014.

A 390-square-foot unit at Amoy Gardens in Kowloon Bay changed hands for HK$3.8 million, or

HK$9,744 per square foot, its lowest level since November 2014.

Home prices at Kingswood Villas in Tin Shui Wai also dropped 11 per cent from their peak last year to HK$7,000 per square foot, with a two-bedroom unit being sold for HK$2.9 million.

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