Hong Kong's record-breaking home prices grow at slowest pace in 16 months

Residential buildings stand in the Mei Foo area of Hong Kong. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

HONG KONG (REUTERS) - Hong Kong private home prices hit a fresh record high in July even as growth slowed to its weakest pace in 16 months, according to government data released on Thursday (Aug 31).

The government index tracking the prices of private domestic homes edged up 0.09 per cent in July compared to June, according to the Rating and Valuation Department. The index surged 19.6 per cent compared to the figure a year ago.

The index has been scaling record highs for nine consecutive months.

The financial hub's new leader, Carrie Lam, has pledged to tackle soaring home prices in Hong Kong, where an apartment of less than 200 square feet can cost as much as US$500,000.

Earlier this week, Lam unveiled a new Task Force on Land Supply, which aims to launch a public consultation and draw up a broad framework of recommendations on the overall land supply strategy within a year and a half. "The work of developing land is urgent," Lam told reporters on Tuesday.

Lam, who was sworn in as the city's fourth post-colonial leader on July 1 in the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping, told Reuters in an interview last month the "ultimate solution" in making housing more affordable lies with increasing supply.

While the government estimates a record-high number of private flats will come to the market in the next three to four years, analysts say tightening measures such as high stamp duties have effectively locked up the supply in the secondary housing market.

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