Hong Kong existing home prices climb to record

Hong Kong - Hong Kong’s existing home prices have climbed to a record, fuelled by a surge in demand from local buyers and investors despite taxes and mortgage curbs designed to rein in prices.

The Centaline Property Centa-City Leading Index, which tracks sales in the secondary market, rose to 147.74 for the week ended February 19, surpassing the previous high of 146.92 reached in September 2015. The index has rebounded 16% since home prices bottomed at the end of March.

“The market is hot right now, not only end users but investors have also come back,” said Wong Leung-Sing, associated director of research at Centaline Property Agency. “The government says interest rates will rise and the supply will increase and there’s no need to buy now, but nobody believes that.”

The city has the world’s priciest property market, with home prices rising 370% since a six-year slump ended in 2003. The lack of affordability has stoked discontent and has lessened Hong Kong’s competitiveness with other Asian financial hubs like Singapore, which is popular among expatriates for its less expensive housing.

Hong Kong’s leaders in November imposed new taxes to cool the soaring property market.

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