Property Digest, January 23, 2013

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 January, 2013, 4:47am

1.3pc fall in luxury flat rents in December

Luxury flat rents fell 1.3 per cent in December, compared with a 0.2 per cent fall in the previous month, due to the government's tightening measures and the festive holidays, according to Ricacorp Properties, which monitors the rents of 35 luxury developments in Hong Kong. Over the whole of last year, luxury flat rents rose 3.7 per cent compared to the previous year, the smallest increase since 2005 and 2006. The number of leases signed dropped 22 per cent to 133 deals in December, the lowest in 11 months. "After the government imposed measures to cool the property market, many people adopted a wait-and-see approach and tenants became more cautious when renting a home," said Ricacorp director David Chan. "Many owners and tenants travelled abroad during the Christmas holidays, adding woes to the rental market." The agency said since the government had introduced a buyer's stamp duty to deter non-local residents from buying flats, some homeowners had chosen to rent out their flats instead of selling them. This had increased competition. Chan expected the market to improve after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's policy address, as it did not contain any new tightening measures. Paggie Leung


Insurance firms more active in real estate

Investors poured in 23.58 billion yuan (HK$29.38 billion) in the property market in Shanghai last year, according to Colliers International. In its 2012 Shanghai property market annual review and outlook report, it said insurance companies were more active in real estate investment last year. A new policy raised the maximum permitted percentage of real estate investment from 10 per cent of total assets to 15 per cent. A China Pacific Insurance Company-led consortium secured a commercial site in Huangpu district and a mainstream insurer acquired the South Bund area's Luheng Plaza for self-use. Such activity is expected to increase this year. Sandy Li


5pc growth seen for town house landlords

Limited new supply would provide support to luxury residential rents, says Savills. If the global economy makes a steady recovery, then luxury apartment rental growth of about 5 per cent is likely, it said. The traditionally quiet fourth quarter saw sluggish initial public offering activity and headcount losses among financial services firms. Demand for properties of more than HK$100,000 per month dropped, causing a further softening in town house rents. Peggy Sito