Home sales slip after policy address rebound

HONG KONG: Property sales ended lower last week after their initial rebound following last month's policy address.

About 750 flats were sold from Oct 25 to 31 in the 50 leading housing estates monitored by Ricacorp Properties, down 2% on the 804 deals recorded the previous week.

But although October ended on a marginally lower note, overall buying sentiment was strong, said David Chan, a director at the firm.

"Many housing estates recorded more than 100 transactions during the month. Some now have very few flats available for sale after the strong performance and potential buyers don't have much choice, which partly explained the small drop in sales last week," he said.

The absence of supply was particularly obvious in the housing estates on Hong Kong Island where sales dropped 15% to 130 last week from 153 deals a week earlier. Only four units at Nan Fung Sun Chuen in Quarry Bay were sold, down from 22 deals.

Sales were down by a bigger margin in the primary market owing to a lack of large-scale new releases, according to Samsung Securities (Asia) regional head of property Lee Wee Liat, who said only 11 new flats were sold last weekend, down 65% from the previous week.

"With the removal of policy overhang, both transaction volume and prices saw increases after the government's policy address. While the release of pent-up demand pushed secondary transaction volumes to new highs over the past two weeks, last weekend's secondary transaction volumes retreated on the back of higher asking prices by sellers," Lee said.

He expects this trend to be only temporary as additional new primary launches this month should revive transaction volumes in both the primary and secondary markets.

The firm expects about seven projects offering 2,294 flats will be launched by the end of next month. The largest project is Cheung Kong's (Holdings) second phase of Festival City in Tai Wai, which will offer 1,368 flats for sale.

Swire Properties is expected to launch its 126-flat luxury project, Azura, at Seymour Road in Mid-Levels West soon.

The project will compete with KWah International's luxury project, Chantilly, at Shiu Fai Terrace in Mid-Levels East, which is also scheduled for sale this month. — South China Morning Post
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