The Straits Times
Published on Feb 22, 2013

Hong Kong unveils new bid to cool property market


HONG KONG (AFP) - Hong Kong unveiled fresh measures Friday to cool its red-hot property market, as the finance minister warned that an asset bubble is forming in the southern Chinese city.

Property prices in the Asian financial hub, famous for its sky-high rent, have surged over the past few years due to record low interest rates and a flood of wealthy people from mainland China snapping up homes.

The government last year implemented several measures to curb the rise, including an unprecedented bid to restrict the number of non-local homebuyers with a 15 per cent property tax on foreign investors, but prices have continued to climb.

"The risk of an asset bubble is increasing," finance minister John Tsang told a news conference, after saying that residential prices had jumped 120 per cent since 2008, while prices for commercial properties had also soared.