Demand for flats rises ahead of policy address

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 January, 2013, 5:19am

Buyers have been returning to the local housing market ahead of the government's policy address today, which is unlikely to include further tightening measures, property agents say.

"The market expects only mild property measures in the policy address," said David Chan, a Ricacorp Properties director.

"In addition, flats in the primary market have been selling well. And as pent-up demand is gradually released, the secondary- home market remains active as well," he said.

A total of 265 second-hand flat sales were recorded last week in the 50 largest private housing estates monitored by Ricacorp.

The figure was down slightly from 270 in the previous week but it was the second week in a row that sales have been above 250.

There were fewer than 200 sales a week between the end of October and late December after the government introduced fresh tightening measures.

These included the imposition of a 15 per cent stamp duty on corporate and non-permanent-resident buyers.

In the new-homes market, Sun Hung Kai Properties raised HK$1.8 billion by selling 144 flats at The Wings II in Tseung Kwan O. Sales began this month. Agents said about 40 flats at Henderson Land and New World's The Reach in Yuen Long were sold at the weekend.

"The sales data for the market is good," said Vincent Chan Kwan-hing, chief executive of the residential department at Midland Holdings.

"Unlike last year, when flat prices were climbing too rapidly, home prices have now cooled down and it is becoming easier for buyers to find their ideal flat."

Looking ahead, Ricacorp said it expected a 15 per cent increase in transactions in the coming week as long as there were no unfavourable measures in today's policy address that would dampen the home market.