HK Property Confidential
- Hong Kong's home sales fell 58% y/y in volume and 63% in value transacted in October as local lenders tightened mortgage lending amid a slowdown in the economy - this is the largest drop since 1999 and the fourth consecutive monthly decline. Bank lending rose 13% in September, the slowest in over a year, and almost half the 24% increase in August. Office rents in Hong Kong may experience a 20% drop by the end of 2009.
- Banks have not lowered their prime rates along with the 0.5% cut in the US interest rate and are adopting more conservative mortgage lending policies (loaning less and scrutinizing borrowers more).
- Prices have been sticky downwards in HK (even stickier in Malaysia as many sellers are waiting for firmer prices with arrogance) as many home-owners have only just
woken up to the fact that the market is heading into a protracted downturn as
opposed to a brief correction. Average prices have only fallen 14% from the peak (Prices have already fallen 14% in HK and probably the same in Singapore... in Malaysia, it has not budged much yet... watch for first out best dressed action soon..). The high-end segment is still outperforming and faces more downside risk. home-buyers may be canceling transactions by forfeiting the deposits and delaying completion date of the transactions.Equity prices remain above their historical lows.
- Citigroup: downward spiral in the Hong Kong property market will continue for the next 12 months - potential push back in completions and the lack of new land sales by the government will result in further declines in construction activities, leading to rising unemployment in the sector, and deal a further blow to the economy (through other industries like property agency, interior decorations, furniture and fittings, consumer electronics) which in turn will adversely affect housing demand.
- Hong Kong's prime office rents surged 33% in the 12 months ended May 2008 (Colliers) but most assume that their growth will slow over the next year
- During the 2nd quarter of 2008, prices fell in several segments of Hong Kong’s property market. Smaller sized apartments were especially hit badly but property prices were strongly up over the year. The overall index rose 25.4% (19.4% in real terms) to end Q2 2008.
- Strong consumption growth has been propelling residential and commercial property prices upward while negative real interest rates have been supporting the creation of new development.Robust labor market has kept demand for commercial space tight (PREI) But with credit costs rising and slowing economic growth, Hong Kong's property market could be vulnerable.
- PREI: total housing transaction value in the second quarter fell by 4.6% from that of a year before.
- Decline in global shipping on higher costs/slower demand for raw materials might have negative effect on warehousing demand which has been a driver of retail property demand.
- Jones Lasalle: despite slowing consumption growth, leasing costs have been rising. Sales volumes have fallen but so far prices are holding up so far (through mid Q3).
- Residential property prices were accelerating early in 2008, from 10.1% yoy increase in June 2007 to 27.7% in January 2008. Prices at the luxury end of the market are already back at 1997 levels. Low borrowing cost at 2.5%, high property yields at 4%-5% made property investment more attractive.