Occupy Central

Hong Kong street protests drag used-home sales to 33-week low

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 September, 2014, 3:43pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 October, 2014, 3:50am

Sales of used homes over the weekend were an early casualty of the start of street protests in Hong Kong, with transactions plunging to a 33-week low.

Just eight units were sold in the 10 estates monitored by Ricacorp Properties over the two days while six estates saw no sales.

"The Occupy Central campaign weighed on buyers' sentiment," said Willy Liu, the agency's chief executive. Sales would pick up if the political uncertainty eased in the short term, he said, adding that owners had also put up fewer properties for sale.

Thousands of protesters occupied the main roads outside the government headquarters complex in Admiralty on Sunday, and hundreds took over a section of Nathan Road in Mong Kok, with similar disruptions in Wan Chai and Causeway Bay.

Buggle Lau Ka-fai, chief analyst at Midland Realty, said sales volume in the secondary market had been slow in the past month, even though primary sales had improved. He expected the mass protests to further hit sentiment.

Lau said a spate of project launches last month had absorbed demand from the secondary market. He expected sales of second-hand homes to drop to 4,500 this month from September's 4,800 deals.

In the primary market, Sun Hung Kai Properties said it would stick to its plans for the Saturday launch of the latest batch of 112 units at The Wings IIIA.

Kerry Properties on Monday cancelled a press conference to market its 56-unit project, 8 LaSalle, in Ho Man Tin.

BNP Paribas said the protests had already affected the retail market, as a number of street-level shops in these districts and some stores in Pacific Place were closed on Monday. It expects the protests to affect retail sales during the "golden week" national holiday that starts today.

BNP said if the political tensions persisted for a long time or worsened, the impact would be felt across the whole of the fourth quarter, including the peak Christmas sales season.