Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hong Kong may take more steps to cool property prices

HONG KONG : Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-Ying has warned that his government may take further measures to control runaway property prices.

The comment came during a question and answer session with lawmakers on Thursday.

The Hong Kong leader did not elaborate on further measures to be taken but said that the introduction of a capital gains tax was unlikely.

Mr Leung said: "The government will continue to closely monitor the property market, and introduce timely measures to maintain a healthy and stable market. The Long-Term Housing Strategy Steering Committee is looking into different types of public and private housing demand over the longer term, and will provide a comprehensive assessment."

He added: "Our positive non-interventionist policy is outdated given the internal developments and difficulties arising from the external environment. The government has to be appropriately proactive."

Last week, Hong Kong imposed a 15 percent tax on property purchases by non-residents as well as companies and there has been speculation that more steps will be taken to dampen price rises.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority has also called on lenders to tighten up on mortgage loans for fear of being flooded with cash after the US announced a third round of quantitative easing.

Official data also shows that mainland buyers account for one out of every five property transactions.

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