As Hong Kong’s unprecedented spate of civic unrest stretches into its 14th week, a slowdown in the world’s most expensive home market is showing varying effects across different districts, proving the adage that location is everything in real estate. The prices of lived-in homes near the Olympic subway station in western Mong Kok district, a densely populated neighbourhood that was the scene of clashes between protesters and police, have declined the most since June, according to data by Ricacorp Properties, which tracks 50 major housing estates. Prices in the area dropped by between 8 and 10 per cent in August, with prices in the Central Park flats plummeting by 24.3 per cent between June and July, while Island Harbourview fell 11.9 per cent, the data showed. “As long as the [protest] movement remains, there is a risk,” said Ricacorp’s research head Derek Chan, adding that buyers are feeling the “mental impact” of protest rallies. “Mong Kok and Prince Edward may be considered more dangerous. The districts that are more peaceful and which had seen less harassment by protests are naturally more popular among buyers.” Hong Kong’s real estate market, ever so sensitive to the city’s macroeconomic and political climate , is trying to find its footing as three months of protest rallies show no sign of letting up. The city’s economy, already crimped by a year-long US-China trade war , must prepare for tougher times ahead, as retail sales had slumped while visitor numbers have dwindled. The average price of used homes across Hong Kong fell 0.7 per cent in May, according to figures released by the Rating and Valuation Department, as market sentiment was battered by the escalating trade war, and as the city’s rallies turned violent. The Centa-City Leading Index slid 1.6 per cent from the end of July to September 1. The September 4 announcement by Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to withdraw the government’s controversial extradition bill, whose very inception was the genesis of the three-month long rallies, failed to cool the seething public anger or stem the violence. The prices of Island Harbourview fell by another 7.4 per cent in August to HK$20,858 per square foot, while zero transactions were reported at Central Park, Centaline said. Neighbourhoods that were spared the worst of the protest rallies during the past three months, such as Shau Kei Wan and Quarry Bay on Hong Kong Island, were well sought after. Grand Promenade, featuring 2,021 flats in five high-rise towers in Shau Kei Wan, jumped 12.6 per cent while Nan Fung Sun Cheun in Quarry Bay rose 10.1 per cent. But prices of Grand Promenade, built by Henderson Land Developments , had also started to drop about 10 per cent starting from mid-August with the declining market trend as some investors slashed prices to offload their property, said Wilson Chan, senior regional sales director at Centaline. The trend would continue as long as Hong Kong’s protest movement remains, though home prices could return to normal about one month after the rallies end as confidence returns and some buyers try to pick up bargains, said Ricacorp’s Chan. That is small comfort for developers, who must compete for buyers’ chequebooks, with 16,000 new apartments across 36 projects going on the market in the second half, according to JLL data. Developers of all sizes, including Sun Hung Kai Properties, Henderson Land, Wheelock Properties, Goldin Financial Holdings and Citic Pacific, have joined the race. “Given the gloomy market outlook, developers will have to continue adopting conservative pricing strategies to maintain sell-through rates ahead of the implementation of vacancy tax,” said Henry Mok, senior director of Capital Markets at JLL, adding the softening prices in the primary market would contribute to the 5 per cent drop secondary home prices by the end of this year. Only four new residential projects, including Wheelock’s Marini launched in late August, were put up for sale in July and August, compared to six new projects in the previous two months.