Hong Kong’s two largest property agencies, Midland Realty and Centaline Property Agency, are offering “zero down payment” schemes to existing home owners in a bid to drum up sales, a move that challenges the Hong Kong Monetary Authority tightening mortgage policy, which is intended to temper soaring property prices.
mReferral Mortgage Brokerage Services, a unit of Hong Kong-listed Midland Holdings, will lend up to 130 per cent of the value of a flat, up to a maximum of HK$20 million, through financial institutions from Tuesday.
“It should be a breakthrough in Hong Kong’s mortgage lending industry,” said Sharmaine Lau Yuen-yuen, mReferral’s chief economic analyst. “We are in talks with different developers to offer this scheme for their new projects.”
Hong Kong’s top official has raised the property stamp duty for the second time in three years to tame soaring real estate prices in the world’s least affordable major city, ahead of an election campaign where housing affordability is likely to be a central issue.
Effective November 5, the stamp duty on property transactions for non-first-time buyers will be raised to 15 percent for individuals and corporate buyers, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said in a televised press conference in the city.
Once again, Dalian Wanda chairman Wang Jianlin is China’s richest man with an estimated net worth of $33 billion. However, among China’s top property barons, it’s the prominent role of baronesses that makes the country’s real estate industry look like an advertisement for equal opportunity.
Of the six women to rank in the top 100 of Forbes’ latest China rich list, four owe their wealth primarily to the country’s real estate industry. The role of property in building fortunes for Chinese women outranks even the major contribution it has made to members of the rich list as a whole, where 19 out of the top 100 Chinese billionaires can cite bricks and mortar as a primary source of their riches.
The volume of transactions in the secondary housing market surged over the weekend from the previous weekend as endusers and investors showed more confidence in the sector’s prospects, analysts said yesterday.
Sammy Po Siu-ming, residential chief executive at Midland Realty, said 24 deals were transacted on Saturday and Sunday at 10 major housing estates that Midland tracks, more than double from just 11 transactions in the previous weekend.
Another sale and purchase agreement was struck yesterday, bringing the total over the holiday weekend to 25. “As the low interest rate environment is expected to continue for some time, many buyers took advantage of the long weekend to buy flats,” said Po. Centaline Property also recorded 23 transactions over the weekend, a substantial increase from 14 in the previous weekend.
I greatly respect Richard Wong’s scholarship in housing matters but sometimes I think he should take a year away from that pristine university environment and become an estate agent in the trenches of the property market.
In my view the housing shortage is a misnomer and he has ignored interest rates, the real driving force of property prices.
First, that housing shortage. There is none. We had one in the 1970s when up to 20 per cent of the population lived in squatter huts. But thanks to public housing and a big private development push these squatter towns are now gone. With only a few scattered exceptions, all holders of permanent ID cards live in formal homes.
Yes, I recognise that some people live in squalid sub-divided flats. I am sorry for them but the large majority are migrants without permanent status. Our social services cannot bear full responsibility for everyone who takes a whim to moving here.