Hong Kong private housing supply jumps to 8-year high

Number of completed units up 89pc last year as market begins to stabilise

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 January, 2015, 11:48am
UPDATED : Saturday, 31 January, 2015, 2:06am

Hong Kong's new private housing supply rose to an eight-year high of 15,700 units last year, with analysts saying the city has started the transition to a period of more sustainable flat supply.

The Transport and Housing Bureau announced the official figures in a report on new private housing supply for the quarter to December.

The number of completed units last year represented an 89 per cent jump from 2013. Construction began on 17,300 units last year, compared with 14,100 in 2013.

Some 74,000 new homes are projected to come on the market over the next three to four years, unchanged from the estimate in the previous quarterly report.

Analysts said the sharp increase in supply stemmed from the completion of a number of large residential projects. They said a trend of more annual home supply had begun.

"The annual supply of flats is to be maintained at between the 15,000 and 18,000 level in the next few years, given the government's determination to increase home supply," said Ringo Lam Chun-chiu, from surveyor AG Wilkinson & Associates.

The government's new homes target for the next 10 years has been boosted by 10,000 - meaning a total of 480,000 public and private units are planned by 2025.

Among the 480,000 homes, 200,000 will be public rental flats, 90,000 will be subsidised flats for sale and 190,000 will be private homes.

Wong Leung-sing, an associate director of research at Centaline Property Agency, said the absolute number of flat completions might vary from year to year subject to construction progress.

"This year, we will see a decline to the 13,000 level as construction work on some projects has been delayed," he said. "But the overall picture is that annual flat completion and construction will increase."

The Lands Department yesterday closed the tender for a small residential-commercial site in Yip Wong Road, Tuen Mun, which attracted nine bids. The 26,135 sq ft site could provide as much as 143,054 sq ft of floor area, including 116,918 sq ft of residential space and 26,136 sq ft for commercial use.

Given the increased supply, and in the light of economic factors such as an anticipated interest rate rise, Lam said home prices would not rise sharply from the current level.

"Having said that, prices will not fall sharply either. The market will be stable," he said.

Centaline Property Agency chairman Shih Wing-ching said home prices would rise 10 per cent in the first half of this year.