Pessimistic Hong Kong Real Estate Forecast
The financial crisis from which the entire world has to suffer, didn’t give the Hong Kong real estate market a break. At the real estate agencies around the city, prices have dropped 20 percent in November 2008 and this will continue in 2009 furthermore. Growing public expectations of a repeat of a 2003 slump, when the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (also known as SARS), ravaged the entire Hong Kong economy, prompted Sun Hung Kai Properties to predict last week that prices would rebound 5 percent in 2009. Lee Shau-kee, the chairman of the Henderson Land has a different opinion as he stated that the bad times have past for the Hong Kong real estate market and he also added that the worst of the world economic slowdown was yet to come. On the contrary, Stephen Riady who is the president of Lippo Group stated: “I think Hong Kong will probably go down much more. It’s a very volatile market. It’ll go down more than Singapore”.
At the end of November 2008, a Reuter’s poll of analysts showed that the apartment prices in Hong Kong will go down 20% by the beginning of 2010 just like the prices from Singapore will go down by 21%. Even worse than that, a brokerage house specializing in derivatives called GFI Colliers stated the Hong Kong real estate prices will hit rock bottom in December 2009 when the prices will be -25% in comparison with the present prices. The vice-president stated that many landlords (starting from small to big ones) wanted to switch to cash but the prices continued to go down because they couldn’t find any buyers for their homes and banks were requesting down payments between 30%-40% compared to only 10% which was in the prior crisis period.
Beek said that: “Some are off-loading at 30 percent discounts, but struggling to sell” and “Many buyers think they might as well wait another four or five months for prices to come down more”. The Hong Kong real estate transactions reached a 17-year low in November 2008 – down almost 87% in value from 2007. The entire territory is in recession, not just only the real estate domain; exports reached unprecedented minimums due to the continuous weakening global demand. Fully dependent on the financial industry, many people are facing large-scale job cuts at hedge funds and investment banks.
Another punch taken by the real estate market was when the mortgage rates were increased by the Bank of China Hong Kong and HSBC. An analyst at CLSA by the name of Nicole Wong affirmed that she expects that the residential prices will go down by 15% in 2009. She also stated that real estate outperformed the Hang Seng index when home prices slid in 1998 and 2001, and said that Sun Hung Kai, Henderson and Sino Land had value.
All things considered, the situation isn’t very good for the Hong Kong real estate market but hopefully in 2010 the situation will get back on a normal track not only for Hong Kong but for the entire world because the crisis affects each and everyone.