Hong Kong housing

Hong Kong homebuyers still keen despite HKMA policy tightening

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 March, 2015, 6:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 April, 2015, 5:26pm

On the second weekend following the Hong Kong Monetary Authority's further tightening of mortgage lending policies, there was no sign of a dramatic impact on housing sale volumes and values, though a ratings agency expects prices to fall up to 5 per cent this year.

Property sales in Hong Kong could come under greater pressure in the second half due to higher interest rates and increased supply, says Standard & Poor's Ratings Services.

"Our base-case forecast is that total primary sales in Hong Kong's property market will decline 10 per cent to 15 per cent in 2015 from record highs last year," S&P credit analyst Cindy Huang said. "We expect average sales prices to be flat or up to 5 per cent lower than in 2014."

DBS Vickers Securities said in the research report released on Tuesday that mass housing, especially small units, should see stable prices this year, but prices for high-value homes could fall 5 per cent.

Despite the policy tightening, some developers managed to record strong sales over this past weekend.

In the primary market, 323 units were sold over the weekend of March 7-8, compared with only 20 units sold in the previous weekend.

In the secondary market, only five units were sold at the 10 largest residential estates tracked by Centaline over the weekend, compared with three previously. The Centa-City Leading Index rose 0.68 per cent week on week to 137.12. It has gained 3.5 per cent so far this year.

"As we expected, positive sale results for major primary launches over the weekend showed that the impact on the primary market is mild compared to the secondary market," said Patrick Wong, an analyst at BNP Paribas.

The HKMA announced a seventh round of mortgage tightening measures on February 27.