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Rising charges, value droop deal double blow to Hong Kong owners

HONG KONG: When Stephanie Cheung purchased a small, two-bedroom residence for HK$7.7 million (US$981,041) as an funding in April 2021, she booked a 6 per cent acquire by the summer time as Hong Kong’s property market boomed to historic highs.

The value surge was pushed partly by optimism that Hong Kong’s borders would reopen after a number of the world’s most stringent COVID-19 measures over the previous two-and-a-half years.

As we speak, none of that has materialised.

The value of Cheung’s 450 sq. foot flat has dropped 6 per cent, and the rental revenue of HK$16,300 is now not sufficient to cowl mortgage repayments after month-to-month curiosity elevated by HK$2,400 a couple of months in the past.

“I made the acquisition hoping to order capital, however now I simply wished to make use of the shortest time and the smallest loss to promote this residence”, stated Cheung, 40, who lives in a much bigger rented residence along with her household.

Cheung’s will not be an remoted case as rising mortgage prices and a bleak financial outlook have deepened pessimism amongst owners.

That poses a major coverage headache for town’s new chief, John Lee, who should stability the wants of various sectors of society. Lee delivers his first Coverage Deal with in October.

“John Lee must maintain property costs managed for the grassroots and younger folks, whereas he cannot afford to let costs crash as a result of it will jeopardise the wealth of the middle-class”, stated realtor Hong Kong Property Providers chief operations officer Dave Ma.

Dwelling costs in Hong Kong, the world’s most unaffordable market by revenue ratio to accommodate values, are anticipated to drop round 10 per cent this yr, the primary fall since 2008.

Cheung is now set to guide a good greater loss, after some banks on Thursday (Sep 22) raised their rate of interest by 12.5 foundation factors, the primary rise in 4 years.


Hong Kong homebuyers have loved years of ultra-low charges and lots of mortgage plans are linked to the floating interbank charges, which largely stayed under 1 per cent in 2021, and through 2009-2016.

As interbank charges spiked to a greater than 28-month excessive in August, the efficient mortgage fee has risen to round 2.6 per cent from barely over 1 per cent firstly of this yr.

Rates of interest in Hong Kong have a tendency to maneuver in lockstep with US charges, as its foreign money is pegged to the buck, placing upward strain on interbank and mortgage charges.

The upper borrowing prices are denting dwelling purchaser sentiment.

Dwelling costs within the monetary metropolis dropped 4.5 per cent within the first seven months from December, whereas transaction volumes within the first 9 months slid 40 per cent year-on-year.

Property brokers stated costs had dropped greater than 7 per cent thus far this yr to ranges not seen for the reason that third quarter of 2018.

“The positive aspects over the previous 4 years have been worn out in 4 months”, stated realtor Ma.

Many sellers are these leaving Hong Kong for good or residents pressured to money in to assist struggling companies.

Builders are additionally chopping costs, with some promoting new tasks at reductions of as much as 20 per cent.

Ma stated the market might stabilise within the close to time period if the federal government lifts journey restrictions with mainland China and abroad, and relaxes stamp obligation imposed on second-home purchases and international patrons.

Momo Chan, 35, a civil servant who purchased a house final April earlier than getting married, additionally stated reopening borders is essential to help the housing market.

“I had anticipated rates of interest to rise and the market wouldn’t maintain going up, however I assumed it will be steady, not a giant fall like this in the previous couple of months”, Chan stated.

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