Home Prices Likely to Stay Low as Trade War Expands

貿戰延至高科 樓價難回暖

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

貿戰延至高科樓價難回暖

The much-anticipated Trump-xi dinner finally took place during the G20 summit, and both leaders came out of the meeting declaring a 90-day trade truce and their commitment to working towards a trade agreement. For a moment, I thought that Hongkongers would now turn their attention back to the housing market, seizing the opportunity to make home purchases while secondary market prices are relatively low.

Due to the de-escalation of the Us-china trade war and the large number of failed Home Ownership Scheme applicants who have returned to the private market, sales numbers in the past week did in fact go up slightly. However, before anyone could celebrate, the market was dealt another major blow. Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei's founder and the company’s current CFO, was detained on December 1 by Canadian authorities during a layover in Vancouver, facing possible extradition as requested by US prosecutors. While details of the case remain largely unclear, the incident has certainly made the future of Uschina trade relations even more unpredictable. In the meantime, both Hong Kong and the US stocks took a plunge immediately following Meng’s arrest, so naturally, the property market will be next. At this point, the only way to reenergise our housing market and boost buyer confidence is for the market to undergo some fundamental price readjustments.

As it turns out, a large new housing estate in East Kowloon is doing just that. It’s said the development’s per-square-foot price is set lower than secondary homes in the same area, and that the developer is offering high loan-to-value ratio mortgages to cater to buyers who can’t afford a hefty down payment. All these gestures clearly show that the developer wants to grab the attention of all potential buyers in the city and is gunning for a quick sellout. Although the first round of sales only offers around 200 units—not enough to assess the market reception with—if they do sell out as planned, the developer will very likely release more units at higher prices soon. However, figuring out the appropriate price increase will be a tough balancing act. Given that the Us-china trade tensions have expanded into tech and the current political environment looks bleak, an overly aggressive price hike will inevitably turn buyers off; on the other hand, by not raising the prices, it can cause prospective buyers to doubt the appreciation potential of the property. With so many factors and variables to take into account, it will take even the most experienced property sales team to achieve optimal results.

I expect the conflict between the US and China, which is spreading beyond trade and has no apparent pattern to make sense of, will greatly intensify the uncertainties and risks in Hong Kong’s future economic trajectory and subsequently force investors to choose more conservative strategies. Therefore, it’s unlikely for Hong Kong’s housing prices to bounce back in the short term.

終於等到G20習特會晤,兩國領導人公佈同意暫且收兵90天,並爭取達成最終的貿易協議。聽到消息,筆者滿以為香港人的目光可以重新聚焦到樓市來,趁著二手樓價稍有回落調整,市場迅速打破成交冰封局面。

的確,由於中美貿戰對峙稍為緩和,加上大量居屋向隅客重投二手市場,聞說過去一星期成交稍為進展,不過,還是俗話說得準,福無重至,禍不單行,周四市場突然爆出華為太子女孟晚舟在溫哥華轉機時被扣留,原來是美國司法部要求引渡她到美受審,即時為中美貿戰添加一層撲朔迷離的硝煙霧幕,事件首先震動香港及美國股市大幅滑落,直至周五休市前兩地股市仍未止跌。股市大跌,樓市怎會不受影響?看來要激活樓市,吸引更多買家有信心入市,樓價一定要作更深度的調整。

事實上,東九龍一個大型樓盤就校準開盤策略,坊間指呎價除低於同區二手樓價外,並針對缺少首期的買家提供高成數按揭,發展商心思如此仔細,目的顯然意圖將全港購買力一網打盡,以確保樓盤銷情,可以盡快清袋,但首張價單祇推出約200伙,數量不多似在測試市場承接反應。然而,中美貿戰近況有跡象蔓延至高科技領域,如果首批次單位能夠順利售出,按經驗發展商一定會加價加推,斬多四兩,甚至乎一邊收票另一邊決定加價幅度及推出更多單位。不過,這一次加價幅度對發展商將是新的考驗,因為現時政治氛圍並不樂觀,若然加價幅度太過進取,買家必然會覺得撿不到便宜而作鳥獸散,以避開高價接貨,若然不加價,又恐尚未買進的買家疑心此盤日後的前景。所以要達到滿意的銷售成績,相信樓神也要落足心機琢磨。

筆者估計,由於中美博奕正不斷延伸至其他領域,更是以無跡可循的超限方式進行,將倍增本地經濟前景的不確定風險,令投資者越加保守,所以香港住宅樓價短期內難望回暖。

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