Despite being the city with the 3rd most expensive real estate prices in the world and home prices hitting a record high earlier this year, Hong Kong property prices are expected to begin to drop in 2016, according to experts and analysts in the city’s residential property sector.
With an average price at $22,814 per square meter, property values in Hong Kong have long been ranked third in the world and have been considered to be extremely pricey. One of the main leading reasons for the high prices and the constant increase in value was the limited space in the financial hub of Asia.
Home values have been on a constant rise as proven by the 340% increase since 2003. The relentless rise in real estate prices has, in fact, renewed concerns that the government may impose more property tightening measures to puncture the trend. Example of such a measure would be stricter mortgage restrictions or higher taxes on foreign purchases.
However, this trend seems to be changing. Both JPMorgan Chase and the global lender UBS disclosed recently that home prices in Hong Kong could be on the fall until the end of 2017 as buying demand is hurt by an economic slowdown in China and Hong Kong, rising unemployment rates, and a lower inflation rate.
The Future of Hong Kong Property Prices?
According to Cusson Leung, the head of Hong Kong research, conglomerates and property for JPMorgan, there is a high chance that residential prices will start falling by 5% to 10% per year starting in 2016.
Despite the expected fall in residential housing prices starting next year, real estate prices are still expected to rise for the rest of 2015. With the new homes and existing housing expected to be 5% and 10% more expensive respectively, property values for this year will still be relatively expensive.
Eva Lee, executive director and head of Hong Kong/China Property Research at UBS, was of the same opinion. In a briefing the earlier week, she mentioned that the upcoming cycle that will lead to the fall of Hong Kong property values will be different from previous ones, This is because it will not be triggered by global economic shocks, but rather the deteriorating local economy.
Cusson Leung pointed out that the shrinking retail market in Hong Kong, mainly driven by the closure of many luxury brand stores, was one of the main factors in driving down the property sales. The other factors were rising unemployment, shaken investors’ confidence over concerns that China’s growth is slowing, and that the global markets may suffer from a planned in the interest rate hike in the United States.
According to Leung, “Pressure on the economy is the biggest concern here instead of an interest rate hike.”
Alfred Lau, a property analyst from Bocom International predicted the potential fall in prices from looking at real estate prices relative to property stocks. Lau said that Hong Kong home prices are now the highest compared to property developer stocks in almost two decades.
“It is a sign that the property market will drop as much as 20 per cent in the last quarter this year,” he said.
There were other signs telling the same story.
In August, Hong Kong’s private-sector economy saw its sharpest contraction ever since 2009. This is a distress signal for the economic health of Asia’s financial capital.
Weakest home sales in 17 months were also reported after a month-long stock rout that originated in China hurt market sentiment among buyers and investors. Comparing year to year data, the sales this year have been down by a third in terms of units sold.
In regards to the shrinking retail market, it was found that 42% of the sales came from tourists. This is the highest proportion in the world and Hong Kong real estate values will suffer even more once the tourist arrivals fall and hit the retail market.