October 22, 2009
HK mum on luxury mortgage tightening report
(HONG KONG) The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) declined comment yesterday on a report that it was considering raising the downpayment required to buy luxury property amid fears of a property bubble, but said HKMA chief Norman Chan had discussed the property market with banks this week.
'Mr Chan held a meeting with five major banks on Tuesday to hear their views on the financial market, including the property market and mortgage lending,' an HKMA spokeswoman said.
The spokeswoman said she had no comment on a report in the Ming Pao daily newspaper that the HKMA was considering lowering the mortgage limit on properties valued at HK$20 million (S$3.6 million) and above to 60 per cent from 70 per cent.
Property prices in the city have surged by nearly 30 per cent this year, and by more in the luxury sector where they now top peaks reached in 1997 - just before the last property bubble burst, triggering a 70 per cent drop in residential prices over six years.
A luxury apartment in an upmarket area of Hong Kong Island sold last week for HK$71,280 per square foot - surpassing London prices to set a world record per square foot.
Luxury property is being boosted by demand from wealthy mainland Chinese buyers and other overseas investors as excess global liquidity and Hong Kong's currency peg to a weak US dollar make its assets attractive, analysts say.
Martin Koh/ Sherry Tang