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HK home prices plunge most since 2016 on higher rates

THE slump in Hong Kong’s (HK) property market is accelerating as borrowing costs rise.

The Centaline gauge of secondary home prices fell 2% in the week ending Oct. 30 from the previous week, the most since March 2016, according to data released on Friday. The drop took the index to its lowest level since December 2017.

Hong Kong property was among the biggest beneficiaries of low global interest rates, with the Centaline gauge surging more than 500% from its 2003 low to last year’s high. That’s now starting to reverse as borrowing costs jump, the economy shrinks and an exodus of residents adds to selling pressure. The secondary home price index has fallen 14% from its 2021 peak.

The city’s one-month borrowing cost, known as Hibor, has climbed to its highest level since 2008 due to Hong Kong’s currency peg with the greenback. More than 96% of mortgages are tied to Hibor, according to September data for new loans by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.

New home sales may reach just 50% of annual completions this year, the lowest proportion in more than two decades, according to Bloomberg Intelligence (BI). Developers may need to offer discounts in order to sell vacant units, particularly studio flats, where buyer demand is weak, BI said.

Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. expects residential property values in the city to plummet 30% through 2023 from last year’s levels. — Bloomberg

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