Number of Hongkongers expecting home prices to fall doubles, Citi survey shows, as political crisis darkens the mood

By Holly Chik holly.chik@scmp.com / https://www.scmp.com/business/article/3030155/number-hongkongers-expecting-home-prices-fall-doubles-citi-survey-shows?utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=contentexchange&utm_source=EdgeProp | September 26, 2019 10:38 AM SGT
The violent protests that have engulfed Hong Kong have taken a serious toll on confidence in the local property market.
The number of Hongkongers who believe home prices will fall in the next 12 months has doubled since the pro-democracy demonstrations began in early June, according to a survey by Citi Hong Kong.
Fifty-six per cent of 500 people quizzed about their views on the market in the third quarter said they expect prices to come down, compared with 28 per cent in the April-to-June period.
Those who believe property prices will rise in the next year fell by exactly half from 36 per cent to 18 per cent, the survey found.
Despite the gloomy outlook, the number of people saying they are interested in buying a property fell less dramatically, from 25 per cent to 20 per cent.
"The results show that many local citizens are expecting a continuous fall in property prices, but the overall interest in property ownership sees no material change despite their views on the property market," said Josephine Lee, head of retail bank, Citi Hong Kong.
Almost 70 per cent of the respondents thought it was a "bad or terrible time to purchase" a home now in the world's most expensive housing market, down three percentage points from the second quarter.
"Buyers have been expecting a bearish market. I'm not surprised," said Denis Ma, head of research at JLL.
The survey was conducted by the University of Hong Kong's Social Sciences Research Centre on behalf of the US financial services giant.
With property prices still sky-high and the city facing a potential technical recession in the third quarter, buyers should consider carefully if this is the right time to buy a house, said Ma. The China-US trade war has also dragged down local businesses and added to global economic uncertainty.
Ma expects property prices in the city to remain largely unchanged, or drop at most by 5 per cent this year.
The city has been rocked by more than three months...