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July 2nd, 2012:

Tsang’s term chimes with strong housing market

There was no developer / Government collusion during the Tsang era

Half of Hong Kong is now owned by black money from overseas

Peggy Sito
Jul 02, 2012

Hong Kong’s property market has had its strongest five-year run since the handover, with secondary home sales reaching new highs during the administration of former chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen.

Data compiled by Centaline Property Agency show that total sales value in the secondary property market surged to HK$1.59 trillion during the five years from July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2012.

This was 120 per cent higher the amount recorded in the previous five-year period, or 130 per cent higher than that registered in the first five-year period since the city’s return to Chinese sovereignty, beginning on July 1, 1997.

A similar picture emerged for sales values in the primary market, where total transaction values in the five years from 2007 amounted to HK$593 billion, according to Centaline.

This was 38.2 per cent higher than the five-year period from 2003; and 37.3 per cent above that for the five years from July 1997.

Under Tsang’s administration home prices surpassed previous highs for the first time in more than a decade, reaching 103.35 on the Centa-City Leading Index in the first week of May. The previous peak was in October 1997, when the index hit 102.93.

The Centa-City index tracks secondary market home prices, with the benchmark of 100 reflecting prices in July 1997. The indicator has since gone on to hit a new high of 104.6 reached in the week ending June 24.

The Centaline data came as Leung Chun-ying took office yesterday as the new chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

In a speech at the inauguration of the fourth-term government, Leung pledged that new administration would address the people’s concerns over housing, which he said should be tackled through planning and supply.

According to Centaline, the number of transactions in the secondary market during the five years from July 1, 2007 totalled 427,990, up by just under half from the number of deals in the previous five-year period.

But in the primary market, despite surging sales revenues, the number of sales recorded in the five-year period ended in June this year was down by 38.2 per cent to 64,880, compared with the previous five-year period, suggesting a big increase in average prices on the primary market.

Property agents said the number of sales in both markets had slowed in the past two months amid uncertainty in the market over housing policy under the Leung administration, as well as doubts about the global economic outlook.

Midland Realty estimates that Land Registry data due out this week could show that the total number of property transactions dropped by some 31 per cent to 7,897 in June.

Buggle Lau Ka-fai, chief analyst at Midland Realty, forecast a continued slowdown in the secondary sector due to the market uncertainties, but said sales in the primary market would rise because some developers launched new projects last month.

Among the new releases was The Beaumont in Tseung Kwan O, developed by Cheung Kong (Holdings) (SEHK: 0001), where 360 units were sold as of Saturday.