The Housing Market May Cool Down as Public Debate Unfolds

觀望大辯論 樓市或步冷靜期

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觀望大辯論 樓市或步冷靜期

It's only been a few days since a vacancy tax was proposed by the government, and developers are already abandoning their usual sales tactic of keeping the housing supply scarce and limited. The result is that we are seeing a large number of luxury homes, small- to mid-size units and nano-flats, become available in the market as home builders compete to release and sell new projects. Although we haven't received sales numbers at the time of publication, there's no doubt that buyers now have a lot more options, and that certain developers have concocted various pretexts to offer mortgages with high loan-to-value ratios to attract customers.

Thanks to the influx of new residential properties, agents now have to bring clients to several units at one go, and they would be lucky if a customer is willing to make the purchase on the spot. More frequently, however, faced with so many choices and the uncertainties caused by the Us-china trade war, clients are choosing to stay put and delay their purchase, ignoring the fact that as many private land slots are repurposed for public housing, the supply of private housing may dwindle in the future.

The truth is, Hongkongers have often demonstrated a herd mentality. When there are large numbers of lucky draw applicants and long queues to see show flats, they would automatically assume that the development is a great bargain. On the other hand, when a lesser-known developer launches a project that gets little attention, home seekers are quick to write it off and move on to other options.

If the new housing policies and the trade war do turn out to have a cooling effect on the housing market, I believe that developers will leave no stone unturned in order to sell their new offerings, or else they'll have to resort to a price war to attract prospective buyers.

On the other hand, as the government announced that new HOS and Green Form subsidised flats would be priced according to residents' income instead of market rates, we have seen a decline in the number of home seekers in the secondary market. I suspect that this is because buyers looking for second-hand housing have changed their mind and decided to try their luck at the new HOS, or are taking their time to weigh the pros and cons of the new policies.

So will secondary market rates and sales really take a hit due to the anticipated lowering of new HOS flat prices? Despite recent media coverage on high-priced home sales, I personally don't think it should be taken by buyers as a point of reference. Sure, the new HOS flat prices will be significantly reduced, but the supply will be also be limited. In addition, it will take at least five to six years to turn the recently purchased land plots into residential buildings ready for sale, not to mention that despite the public's optimistic belief, realistically speaking, the chance for any applicant to win the lucky draw is extremely slim. The result is that there are only a small number of level-headed buyers taking advantage of the current housing market conditions by choosing and buying in the secondary market.

With new housing policies switching focus to fixing the supply issue and the Us-china trade war expected to escalate, the housing market may soon enter a cooling period. As public debate on land and housing continues, let's wait and see what the future holds.

新樓空置稅公佈了幾天,發展商紛紛改變惜售的心態,並立即放棄【唧牙膏】的銷售手法。目前推出應市新樓除了豪宅之外,還有大批中、小型住宅和納米單位,各發展商均落力推樓,新盤如百花齊放,各有捧場買家,至於各樓盤間收票成績如何?執筆時尚未明朗,但不容否認的是買家的選擇確實多了不少,而且一些樓盤更巧立名目安排了高成數按揭吸客。

由於在同一時間有眾多新盤推出應市,經紀帶客睇示範單位隨時要走幾個樓盤,真的行到腳軟,碰著客人肯即時入票,已經是非常幸運。不過多數客人見新盤花多眼亂,加上中美貿易戰正式開打,不少人改為猶豫觀望,完全忘記私樓地皮改撥公營房屋會影響日後私樓的供應量。

事不離實,香港人行為素來受羊群心理主宰,正所謂買樓講氣氛,見入票抽籤人數眾多,睇示範單位爆棚要大排長龍,大家就下意識假設這個樓盤一定係低水抵買,如果發展商不是知名度大,看到示位參觀人數寥寥無幾,買家更分分鐘會臨場轉場忽袖而去。

樓市氣氛若因新房策及中美貿易戰啟始而轉差,筆者相信發展商未來定要大傷腦筋,新盤才有望順利沽清,否則唯有劈價吸引買家前來執平貨。

另一方面,由於政府公佈新居屋及綠置居售價將改為和市民收入掛 ,放棄了沿用和市價掛 的舊方式,現在已經影響了二手居屋的睇樓量,猜測不少原打算買二手居屋的買家已改變主意等候抽新居屋去,又或者正在消化新房策的利弊,故暫延入市決定。

究竟二手居屋銷情會否受制於新居屋預期調低售價而要減價呢?雖然這兩天各媒體仍然在報導高價成交消息,個人認為暫時不可作準,原則上因新居屋訂價會大幅降低,但供應量畢竟有限,而且剛改撥的九幅地皮,要建成現樓,需時非五、六年不可,況且中籤機會更渺茫,祇不過大部份人習慣一廂情願相信自己是抽中前籌的幸運兒。祇有少數心水清買家懂得趁市靜在二手居屋中揀選心頭好。

政府新房策改以理順供應為主軸,加上中美貿易戰隨時升級,預期樓市步入冷靜期,大家觀望土地大辯論的結果。

Stephen Or 柯興捷Executive Director, Century 21 Hilltop Property Agency世紀21富山地產行政總裁

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