Hong Kong housing

Hong Kong home prices rise for seventh month

Small and medium-size units lead the way - and some analysts predict the peak is yet to come

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 January, 2015, 3:04am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 April, 2015, 5:35pm

Hong Kong home prices rose for the seventh straight month in November, albeit at a slower pace.

The Rating and Valuation Department's monthly price index for private homes climbed to a record 274 in November, 1.37 per cent higher than in October. It rose 11.8 per cent in the first 11 months of last year.

Small and medium-sized flats continued to lead the growth, with units smaller than 430 sq ft up 1.5 per cent month on month. Flats ranging between 430 sq ft and 750 sq ft rose 1.4 per cent, while the price of flats larger than 750 sq ft remained stable.

A 430 sq ft flat in the New Territories cost an average of HK$3.85 million in November, compared with HK$3.35 million in January last year. A 750 sq ft flat in the New Territories fetched an average of HK$6 million, up 1.7 per cent month on month and 17.7 per cent more than the HK$5.1 million last January.

But average prices of large flats in Kowloon and the New Territories fell modestly in November.

Large flats of between 753 sq ft and 1,075 sq ft in Kowloon fetched an average of HK$13,466 per square foot in November, compared with HK$13,677 per square foot in October.

Units ranging from 1,076 sq ft to 1,720 sq ft in the New Territories cost an average of $7,842 per square foot in November, against HK$8,280 per square foot in October.

Agents recently reported record-breaking deals for small units, with a two-bedroom, 324 sq ft unit in Wan Chai's Able Building selling for HK$6.7 million, a new high for the block.

Property agent Centaline Property Agency's Centaline City Leading Index, which tracks prices of second-hand homes, dropped 0.18 per cent week on week to 132.45 as of Friday. The index rose 11.2 per cent last year.

Some analysts expect a slowing economy, anticipated interest rate hikes and increased new supply will prevent home prices from rising this year, with poor affordability likely to encourage individual flat owners to sell.

But there are always bulls in the market. In a report released on Tuesday, Citi Research said home prices were far from peaking. While acknowledging that the costs of homes in Hong Kong were high, Citi said it saw no correlation between affordability and the direction of prices.

"We normally take the affordability index as an indicator of asset bubble levels, but whether bubbles will burst depends on other factors, including the pace of mortgage rate rises, salary growth, demand/supply outlook, unemployment and so on," it said.

Citi said other factors remained favourable, with interest rates likely to rise slowly at first before picking up pace slightly next year.