Rental charges at Hong Kong's ultra-luxury abodes fall by 30 per cent as expatriates and mainland Chinese renters stay away

By Martin Choi / | September 12, 2019 2:02 AM SGT
Hong Kong's monthly leases for ultra luxury residences have fallen by almost a third, as three successive months of street protests and the ongoing drought of high-paying financial jobs have deterred expatriate and mainland Chinese renters.
Three-storey town houses of around 3,000 square feet (279 square metres) at the South District and on The Peak are now available for between HK$150,000 and HK$200,000 (US$25,000) per month, up to 30 per cent less than what they were going for three or four months ago, according to Louis Wong, senior director at Landscope Christie's International Real Estate.
"Besides expatriates, mainland Chinese renters are also hesitating to move to Hong Kong, and those living in Hong Kong are also considering whether to continue living here," he said. "Some who were looking for places have also stopped."
Hong Kong's property market " the world's most expensive city in 2018, for the ninth consecutive year " is trying to find its footing after the year-long US-China trade war and three months of protest rallies knocked a real estate bull run off its pace. The anti-government protests, sparked by a controversial extradition bill, have persisted even after the local government withdrew it, crimping retail sales and forcing visitor numbers to plunge by 40 per cent in August.
Fitch Ratings last week cut Hong Kong's rating by one notch to AA from AA+ in the first downgrade of the city's creditworthiness since China regained sovereignty over Asia's financial hub in 1997. The rating agency cut the outlook for the city to "negative" from "stable", citing ongoing events that had inflicted long-lasting damage to international perceptions of the quality and effectiveness of Hong Kong's governance system and rule of law, and called into question the stability and dynamism of its business environment.
"Within the past few weeks, there have been more cases of renters of [luxury homes] requesting lower rents, and in some cases the landlord has been willing to negotiate as they would like to keep their customers," said Wong. "Some properties had been on the market for more than half a year without...