Hong Kong home prices flat in June but seen hitting record soon – ET RealEstate

HONG KONG: Hong Kong private home prices were flat in June, official data showed on Wednesday, but realtors expect they will hit a new record high in the third quarter, supported by a recovering economy and hopes that mainland Chinese buyers will soon return.

The index of June home prices in one of the most expensive property markets in the world was unchanged at 394.5, compared to a revised 0.8% gain in May.

But, despite lingering COVID-19 pandemic fears, it just 0.6% lower than the all-time high of 396.9 in May 2019, before mass anti-government protests rocked the city.

“A persistent hot property market and improving pandemic situation is good for buying sentiment,” said Thomas Lam, executive director of Knight Frank.

“If the border (with mainland China) can reopen by the end of year, some of the Chinese purchasing power will flood into Hong Kong,”

Realtor Centaline expected transaction volume in the secondary home market this month will ease slightly from June, but the total transaction value will remain above HK$40 billion ($5.14 billion) for the fifth consecutive month, the first time since 1997.

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Single car space at luxury apartment complex in Hong Kong sells for $1.3 million – ET RealEstate

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HONG KONG: A single car parking space has been sold for a whopping HK$10 million ($1.3 million) at a luxury Hong Kong apartment complex, local media reported on Friday.

The 12.5 square-metre (135 square-foot) spot is part of a development on The Peak, a swanky area that has attracted some of the city’s richest residents since colonial times.

Boasting breath-taking views over Victoria Harbour, the hilltop has eye-watering property prices — including some of the world’s most expensive real estate.

While Hong Kong’s wealthy think nothing of dropping millions of dollars for their homes, millions of the city’s residents struggle to afford the rent on shoe-box apartments — many smaller than the parking space.

A 2019 report by UBS said a “skilled worker” needed 22 years of income to afford a 60-square-metre flat, up from 12 years a decade ago, with salaries staying largely the same since 2008.

Another study from the same year listed the average property price in Hong Kong at $1.2 million.

The luxury property market has rebounded following a period of uncertainty around growing political unrest in the city, and appears to have weathered the economic impact of Covid-19.

This year, a 3,378-square-foot penthouse sold for US$59 million, setting a new benchmark for price per square foot at $17,500.

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Hong Kongers increase activity in weak London property market – ET RealEstate

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LONDON: The number of London properties bought by Hong Kongers has more than doubled since the announcement of a new visa offering residents of the territory an opportunity to move to Britain, estate agent Benham & Reeves said on Wednesday.

Transactions by Hong Kong buyers had increased by 144% in London since July 2020, it said. That was the month when Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the visa scheme for holders of British National Overseas (BNO) passports in response to Beijing imposing a national security law that Britain said undermined Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy.

The increased activity was one bright spot in a weak London market, particularly at the top end, during COVID-19.

Hong Kongers bought 1,932 homes in the British capital in the period July 2020 to April 2021, against 793 in the same period a year earlier, according to Land Registry data.

Benham & Reeves said it estimated that buyers from Hong Kong had accounted for an estimated 4% of activity in the market since July 2020, up from a previous 1%.

Marc von Grundherr, director of the estate agent, said Britain had always been a popular destination for Hong Kong property buyers.

“This has certainly been bolstered by the offer of the BNO visa and for the first time in some 30 years, our Hong Kong office saw more interest from those looking to buy versus those looking to invest during the first quarter of the year,” he said.

“Some of this activity is being seen in the very high-end London market, but in fact, much of the demand coming from Hong Kong is focussed around more average market price thresholds.”

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Home prices in Hong Kong hit 20-month high in March 2021 – ET RealEstate

HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s private home prices, among the world’s least affordable, climbed to their highest level since July 2019 in March, official data showed on Wednesday, supported by robust demand and a recovering economy.

The prices gained for the third month in a row in March, rising 0.8%, according to the data, compared with a revised 0.86% increase in February.

The March price index stood at 388.3, 2.2% lower than the historical high of 396.9 in May 2019.

Hong Kong’s residential property market, which has a serious supply shortage, remained resilient last year, despite the pandemic and sometimes violent anti-government protests that started in the summer of 2019.

A report from think-tanks Urban Reform Institute and Frontier Centre for Public Policy ranked Hong Kong the world’s least affordable housing market for the 11th straight year in 2020, based on median property prices and household incomes.

Property agent Centaline said transaction volumes in the secondary market in April were expected to be the highest in eight years with values at a 23-year high.

Sentiment in the market started improving early this year thanks to new vaccines, and buyers expect home prices could pick up after borders reopen with mainland China.

Mainland Chinese bought 40% more residential properties in Hong Kong in the first two months of 2021 than a year ago, according to realtor Midland.

More than 80% of their 2021 purchases were valued above HK$50 million ($6.4 million), Midland said.

But some property agents said high unemployment would weigh on the market in the mid-term.

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