Hong Kong property
Get more with myNEWS
A personalised news feed of stories that matter to you
Learn more
Up to 3,700 prospective buyers queuing up for the 294 flats of New World Development's Artisan Garden project on Saturday, 23 March 2019. Photo: SCMP / Dickson Lee

Hong Kong’s homebuyers return in droves as banks kept mortgage rates unchanged amid a dovish monetary policy

  • Across the city, 607 flats were offered for open sale by four developers in Lohas Park, To Kwan Wan, Yau Tong and West Kowloon
  • Thousands of people queued for the 294 properties on offer at New World’s Artisan Garden

Hong Kong’s property buyers are back in droves, as commercial banks kept the city’s mortgage rates unchanged amid a dovish policy stance by the local monetary authority.

Across the city, four property projects with 607 flats in total were offered for sale in Lohas Park, To Kwa Wan, Yau Tong and West Kowloon in the biggest weekend launch in a year. As of 8pm, 496 of the total offering, or nearly 82 per cent, had been sold, according to sales agents.

“The purchasing power accumulated from months of pent-up demand had been released,” said Midland Realty’s residential division chief executive Sammy Po, who noted that five buyers had each bought two flats for a weekend shopping bill of between HK$12 million and HK$13 million.

Hong Kong’s property bull market had been struggling to regain its footing since prices stumbled last August following the city government’s plan to use a vacancy tax to bolster supply. The weekend’s brisk sales – combined with a slight increase in pricing – stoked concerns that housing affordability may return as a problem, after five months of cooling off.

Last week, the city’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor chimed in to express her concern about housing prices, which were showing signs of revival. Hong Kong is still one of the world’s most expensive urban centres, putting housing beyond the reach of many first-time buyers and school leavers.

Still, eight months after prices began to dip, many buyers were already jumping back into the market, especially for newer projects like New World Development’s Artisan Garden project in To Kwa Wan, which drew 3,700 bids for 294 available units.

A buyer who would only be identified by his surname Chan put down a 20 per cent deposit for a HK$5 million, one-bedroom flat at Artisan Garden.

“We are optimistic about the housing market,” he said. “Home prices will continue trending upwards.”

Even though all 294 flats on offer at Artisan Garden were sold, sales were slower elsewhere. In Yau Tong, Wang On Properties sold 72 of the 99 flats at its Maya project as of 8pm. The asking price on some of the three-bedroom flats were more than HK$10 million, pricing them beyond the reach of many buyers.

In West Kowloon, only five of the 19 units of Magic Sight Holdings’ AVA228 complex were sold.

At Nan Fung Development’s LP6 complex in Lohas Park, only 64.1 per cent, or 125 out of the total 195 flats on offer found buyers. The developer had raised the average price of the latest batch on offer by 8.5 per cent compared with an earlier batch sold last August, giving buyers cause for pause.

The slower responses were because LP6 and Ava 228 had sold several batches of homes over several rounds, so there were few interested buyers to be tapped, Po said.

“Homeowners of lived-in homes have raised their prices and withheld listing them on the market in search of higher prices later,” said Midland Surveyors Alvin Lam. “New projects have been selling quite well. Some developers are selling well even though they priced their flats without discounts.”

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Buyers return in droves as mortgage rates remain flat