Hong Kong home prices rise 13% in 2014 to record high

Residential buildings in the Lai Chi Kok district of Hong Kong on Jan 9, 2015. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG 
Residential buildings in the Lai Chi Kok district of Hong Kong on Jan 9, 2015. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG 

HONG KONG (REUTERS) - Hong Kong's home prices rose last year to a record high, official data showed, as tightening measures failed to curb skyrocketing prices supported by strong local demand and tight supply in one of the world's most expensive property markets.

An index of overall private home prices for December edged up 3.5 percentage points year-on-year to 277.6 points. That's 13 per cent higher than the year before and a ninth straight monthly gain.

Government data showed home prices have risen nearly 35 per cent since 2012, when the city's leader Leung Chun-ying took power with a pledge to make housing more affordable.

The data came days after warnings of a housing bubble from government officials that have sparked renewed concerns of more property curbs.

Hong Kong Monetary Authority chief executive Norman Chan said earlier this week the authority will "take some anti-cyclical measures at appropriate moment" if the upward cycle continues, while the secretary of transport and housing said "necessary measures" would be taken should the property market become overheated.

Some analysts, however, expected home prices to rise another 5 to 10 percent this year as pent-up demand for smaller units continued to boost sales for the city's powerful developers, including Asia's richest man Li Ka-shing's Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd and Hong Kong's largest developer, Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd.

The number of private homes completed in 2014 jumped 89 percent from a year earlier to an eight-year high as the government continued to sell more land to developers to increase housing supply.

The city's real estate sub-index has risen more than 28 per cent since lows were struck in March 2014.

Home prices in the former British colony have surged about 130 per cent since 2008 due to low interest rates, a supply shortage and ample liquidity.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.