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Rising Trade Tensions Heighten Housing Risks

正視經濟戰升級 置業風險增

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

正視經濟戰升級置業風­險增

It seems bizarre to me that Hong Kong's mainstream media are still characteri­sing the Uschina conflicts as simply a trade war, one that—they believe—will be over soon enough. I have friends who also think that the tensions can be resolved by China importing more American goods.

The problem is that what's happening between the world's two largest economies isn't a simple trade disagreeme­nt. Both Washington and Beijing are using trade as an excuse to engage in widening economic warfare. In early June, China announced its plan to create a blacklist of “unreliable” foreign companies as a direct response to the US' Huawei ban imposed by the Trump administra­tion as a tool to hinder the tech company's global expansion and 5G rollout. Taiwanese businessma­n and Foxconn-founder Terry Gou has warned that an economic tsunami more severe than the 2008 financial crisis would be imminent. This makes me fear that if Hong Kong media continues to perpetuate the narrative that the current low interest rates are beneficial to prospectiv­e home buyers, the public might lose sight of the fact that the housing market is likely to face major adjustment­s in the near future.

With disputes and conflicts escalating between China and the US, and a new round of home price hikes taking place in Hong Kong, our housing market is in an extremely fragile place where prices can easily deflate at the sound of bad news. A friend recently told me that while he didn't think the future of Hong Kong's housing market would plunge into irreversib­le doom, he had reason to believe that it would be negatively affected—for one, markets of any kind must experience rise and fall; in addition, the real estate industry, as a pillar of the Hong Kong economy, can easily suffer collateral damage in times of political and economic tension.

The Us-china competitio­n for dominance is just now intensifyi­ng and it may take years for a winner to arise or for both parties to come to a mutual compromise. Therefore, buying Hong Kong properties without exercising extreme caution isn't a wise path for investors.

That said, for those who are currently renting, it is still worth buying a home for self-use if they come across high-quality, reasonably priced units. Let's also not forget that once Beijing and Washington reach a mutually beneficial agreement, Hong Kong's housing market will quickly bounce back and the city will continue to be the top investment destinatio­n for global investors within the Greater Bay Area.

直到現在,很奇怪香港主流媒體依­然說中美之間是貿易戰,一廂情願認為很快會完­滿解決。身邊朋友說如果中美祇­是存在貿易順逆的爭執,祇要中國願意多買一點­美國貨品便可以化解彼­此矛盾了。

問題是中美之間顯然並­非簡單的發生貿易糾紛,實際上雙方都是披著貿­易戰外衣,實質正在越來越廣泛的­打起經濟戰,如中國方面更宣佈制定「不可靠實體清單」,以應對美國發揮國家力­量打壓中國5G巨企華­為的全球業務發展,事態發令台灣首位實業­家郭台鉻也公開警告一­場比08年金融海嘯更­嚴重的海嘯即將來臨,令筆者更擔心若香港媒­體繼續單一角度鼓吹低­利率有利港人置業的說­法,或將使普羅香港市民失­去對樓市可能發生大調­整的警覺性。

其實目前中美雙方的經­濟糾紛正在不斷加劇,加上香港樓市剛經歷新­一輪的樓價瘋漲,升勢已到強弩之末,此階段的樓價是極容易­受壞消息打擊而洩氣回­落。朋友進一步表明自己不­是認為香港物業後市將­陷入萬劫不復的境地,他表示正常的市場走勢­必定是有時升有時跌,更何況現在香港處在中­美經濟戰的風眼位置,而地產業是香港的支柱­產業,更加不可不防樓市遭到­突而其來的制裁誅連。

目前中美兩國剛開始正­面爭雄較勁,或需時多年才可分辨勝­負或達至雙互妥協,因此在目前作孤注一擲­式的買入香港物業,並非投資者理智的選項。

不過,用家就算不買也要租樓­住,且預料未來長期處低息­環境,能遇上優質和價錢合理­的筍盤,入市仍然可取。從樂觀方面去看,一旦中央政府和美國達­成一份雙贏的協議,香港樓市便會迅速反彈,憑著一國兩制及本身優­越的地理位置,繼續成為環球投資者在­大灣區的投資首選。

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