World

HK property market shatters price records for 13th straight month

HONG KONG: Hong Kong's private home prices broke historic records for the 13th straight month last month, with the ascent showing no immediate signs of ending and analysts expecting it to continue into next year.

Private home prices rose by 1.08 per cent last month, marking the fastest pace of growth in six months, according to data released yesterday. The index, which began its climb in April last year, surged 13.1 per cent year-on-year.

The city's flats are ranked the second most expensive in the world after Monaco, according to data from property consultancy Knight Frank, which shows that US$1 million (S$1.33 million) would only buy 200 sq ft of prime property in Hong Kong, as opposed to 270 sq ft in New York or 320 sq ft in London.

"Property prices are high and it is unaffordable for most ordinary people," said Mr Thomas Lam, a senior director with Knight Frank.

"But right now, I cannot see any major factor that will drastically bring down property prices in the short run."

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said last week that the government "has no ways to curb property prices", adding while she would do her best to seek more land to boost supply, she has never promised to turn around the price rise.

Major property consultancies expect Hong Kong's housing market to remain feverish in the coming year and climb a further 5 per cent to 20 per cent.

The government has tried to rein in prices with additional taxes and regulations, which came on top of the de facto central bank's eight rounds of mortgage tightenings since 2009.

But JLL Head of Capital Markets Joseph Tsang said the net effect of measures such as taxes on second homes has been to discourage buying and selling in the city's secondary market.
- REUTERS

WORLD