Coronavirus: Hong Kong home prices fall the most in 15 months

HONG KONG • Hong Kong private home prices in February posted the biggest monthly decline since November 2018, falling 2.1 per cent as the coronavirus spread across the financial centre.

The monthly price decline in one of the world's least affordable property markets was the third in a row, after January's revised 0.1 per cent drop, government data showed yesterday. The February price index was about the same level recorded a year ago.

The epidemic brought Hong Kong to a virtual standstill in February, keeping shoppers, office workers and even protesters off the streets. The Chinese-ruled city's property market had already been hit by the anti-government protests in the second half of last year.

"The fall is within expectation; it started to reflect the impact from the epidemic," said Mr Thomas Lam, an executive director of Knight Frank, adding that the fall would accelerate in the next one to two months.

Mr Lam, who forecast home prices would drop 10 per cent for the full year, expects the property market to stabilise in the second half, while transaction volume would drop 20 to 30 per cent in these two months.

Transaction volumes in the secondary market recovered to a four-month high last month, as the epidemic was seemingly better contained in the first half of the month and flat hunters were back to look for bargains.

Despite the uptick in confirmed cases of Covid-19 recently, potential buyers and property agents do not expect a collapse in prices, given the strong pent-up demand and low interest rates.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 01, 2020, with the headline 'HK home prices fall the most in 15 months'. Print Edition | Subscribe