HK’s first property launch of 2018 sets records to officials’ disappointment

The unintended consequence of HK government's efforts was increased buyers' confidence

(Credit: Pixabay; Wikimedia Commons)
(Credit: Pixabay; Wikimedia Commons)

Hong Kong’s first property launch of the year went off swimmingly for everyone but city authorities.

The launch of Sun Hung Kai Properties’ St. Barths complex sold all 118 units amid tough competition over each apartment — up to 18 bidders were entered for some properties — with final sales being about 17 percent higher than second market prices, reported the South China Morning Post. The launch sale set a new price record for the area.

The news wasn’t welcomed by city authorities who have been trying to dampen Hong Kong’s housing market with a series of regulations — the most recent of which appears to have done the opposite, as has happened before.

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Passed earlier in the week, a new stamp duty bill extended the period of tax exemptions for owners who wanted to sell their homes, which Centaline Property Agency’s vice chairman said added fuel to Sun Hung Kai Properties’ explosive sale.

“Today’s sale, mainly comprising property in the mid-range of the price scale, attracted those who wanted to upgrade their flats,” said the chairman, Louis Chan Wing-kit to the Post. “So the government’s move increased the confidence among buyers, encouraging them to buy first and sell later.”

Prices in the city have been rising for over a year as developers try to keep pace with demand. last year’s transaction value on real estate deals amounting to $95 billion, an increased of about 35 percent in worth and almost 15 percent in the total number of transactions. [SCMP] — Erin Hudson

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