HONG KONG – Property agents in Hong Kong are resorting to increasingly wry advertising slogans to attract potential buyers during the city’s worst housing slump in years.
“Born in the Wrong Time”, “No Tears Left to Cry”, “The Cut Is Deep, The Love Is Real”. These are just some of the catch lines being used on home listing ads, underscoring the desperation of agents and owners.
On one level, it has worked: Social-media sites are now flooded with these over-the-top descriptions. But sellers are still finding it hard to offload properties.
Rising interest rates are weighing on a property market that has already been battered by a population exodus and Covid-19 curbs. Hong Kong’s one-month rate, known as Hibor, has increased to the highest level since 2008 due to the city’s currency peg with the greenback.
Expensive borrowing costs, coupled with an economic contraction, have made would-be buyers cautious.
The number of unsold new homes in Hong Kong increased to the highest in more than 15 years in the third quarter.
Even the city’s powerful developers may need to offer discounts to sell vacant units, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.
Ms Ada Chan, a 42-year-old human resource manager, recently had to stomach a loss of HK$5.4 million (S$947,000) to sell her three-bedroom apartment near the University of Hong Kong for HK$13.3 million. She said it was her biggest loss on property investments.
Even with multiple price cuts, it took Ms Chan more than a year and a half to find a buyer for the 500 sq ft (46 sq m) flat.
Prices of used homes have declined 11 per cent since the beginning of 2022. Goldman Sachs Group is expecting values to plummet 30 per cent through 2023 from 2021’s levels.
“I’m not optimistic about the long-term development of Hong Kong,” said Ms Chan. “This is no longer a place where investing in real estate can get you high returns.” BLOOMBERG