Hong Kong home purchases buoyed by mortgage cap relaxation, jump 16 per cent in October

By Eric Ng eric.mpng@scmp.com / https://www.scmp.com/property/article/3036297/hong-kong-home-purchases-buoyed-mortgage-cap-relaxation-jump-16-cent?utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=contentexchange&utm_source=EdgeProp | November 26, 2019 4:59 PM SGT
Home purchases in Hong Kong grew 16.1 per cent month on month in October after two consecutive months of declines, lifted by the government's relaxation of mortgage caps for first-time buyers as part of an economic stimulus package.
The registrations of about 4,000 units changed hands in October, an increase of 16.1 per cent from September but 5.7 per cent lower than the same month last year, the Land Registry said on Monday. These excluded units subsidised by various government home purchase schemes.
"Multiple favourable news has spurred homebuyers to speed up purchases, and the overall transactions returned to positive territory [last month]," said Derek Chan Hoi-chiu, head of research at Ricacorp Properties. "Price rises are expected to sustain and [grow]," he added.
Although the volume of home sales rebounded last month, it remained lower than half of this year's monthly peak, reported in May, of 8,208 units.
The number of transactions for all building types, including shops and other non-residential units, went up 24.1 per cent last month to 5,075 from September, but was 5.6 per cent below the same period last year.
October's total deal value came to HK$63.4 billion (US$8.08 billion), up 74.2 per cent from September, but was skewed by the HK$4.3 billion transaction for Kimberley Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui and the HK$14.6 billion in non-residential deals at Cityplaza in Tai Koo district.
Chan expected November's total transactions for residential and non-residential units to be close to 7,000 units, a six-month high, partly driven by more project launches by home developers.
"Although the anti-government movement has not died down, the government's mortgage cap relaxation and an interest-rate cut have stimulated transactions," Chan said. "As long as the US-China trade talks retain a good atmosphere, with the help of the rising stock market, property prices should be on a stable to positive trend."
The Hong Kong property market has been hurt by more than five months of anti-government protests, which started in June. This was until a surprise announcement last month by Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, in which she raised the mortgage cap to 90 per cent, from 60 per cent, for homes valued up to HK$8 million, and to 80 per cent from 50 per cent, for homes valued up to HK$10 million.
The sales of lived-in homes jumped by more than threefold on the weekend after the relaxation was announced.
On Thursday, Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the city's de facto central bank, cut its base lending rate for the third time in as many months, in lockstep with the US Federal Reserve, which in turn prompted the city's three note-issuing banks to cut their rates for the first time in 11 years.
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