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Rebound lifts prices at housing estates by 80%

HONG KONG: Hampton Place, Kingswood Villas and Kornhill are among the housing estates that have recorded price increases of more than 80% amid a resurgence of the property market in the past two years, according to property agents.

Prices at Hampton Place in Tai Kok Tsui jumped 86% to an average HK$7,993 (RM3,116.22) per square foot last month, from HK$4,298 at the end of 2008 when the global financial crisis hit the property market, data from Midland Realty shows.

Kingswood Villas in Tin Shui Wai, and Golden Lion Garden in Tai Wai saw price rises of about 85% over 26 months, research conducted by Ricacorp Properties shows. Ricacorp monitors secondary-market home prices in 50 private housing estates.

Flats in these estates sold at average prices of HK$3,069 and HK$3,791 per square foot respectively last month.

Several estates in the New Territories and in Tung Chung have seen big price jumps since 2008 and prices now range from HK$3,000 to nearly HK$6,000 per square foot, compared with HK$1,700 to HK$3,400 per square foot two years ago.

"Price increases in the New Territories came off a lower base because flats there were much cheaper during the financial crisis," said Patrick Chow Moon-kit, Ricacorp's head of research. "Also, there has been strong demand for cheaper flats from the post-80s generation and middle-class buyers looking for their first homes, thus pushing up their prices."

On Hong Kong Island, housing estates in Quarry Bay achieved strong price growth and a study by Centaline Property Agency said home prices at Kornhill jumped 79.4% from HK$4,305 per square foot in December 2008 to HK$7,726 per square foot last month.

Neighbouring housing estate Nan Fung Sun Chuen also recorded significant price growth of nearly 75% to reach more than HK$6,800 per square foot recently, Ricacorp said.

Ricacorp data also showed prices were up at least 50% at 42 of the 50 private housing estates in two years.

The remainder saw growth of at least 40%, with one exception — Fairview Park in Yuen Long, where prices rose 37.3% to HK$5,414 per square foot last month.

Chow believed the upward trend in prices was set to continue, fuelled by strong demand from users and investors since interest rates remained low and inflation was expected to grow further this year.

Centaline's latest Mass Centa-City Leading Index, which tracks secondary sales in 73 housing estates, stood at 87.9 at the end of last month. Research head Wong Leung-sing said the index was up 60.5% from it low in December 2008.

The price growth is leaving some buyers behind, and home-hunter Sean Man, 29, who lives with his parents and siblings in Tin Shui Wai, said property price growth had outstripped his budget.

"It has been really frustrating to watch flat prices skyrocket over the past two years, while there has been only a very small growth in my income," said Man, who plans to get married in three years.

"No matter how far you stretch out your hand, you can never catch the opportunity. All the options are unaffordable now and I can only pray for prices to plummet in the next economic cycle," he said. — SCMP

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