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Improved Infrastructure Narrows the Price Gap Between Urban Areas and NT
- Q2 residential transactions are expected to increase by 48% q-o-q to reach 14,900 cases, decline in prices has moderated
- Railway infrastructure and transportation continue to be robustly developed, anticipated to enhance and shorten travelling times, and is expected to bring up property prices in the New Territories, with growth potential to outperform urban prices
- We expect the 2H residential market to be driven by new homes, with full year transactions expecting to fall by 20-25% y-o-y, with a market price increase of no more than 3% by year-end
HONG KONG SAR - Media OutReach - 14 June 2022 - Global real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield announced its Q2 2022 Hong Kong Residential Market Review and Outlook today. With the fifth wave of the pandemic gradually being brought under control, the city's residential market has been gradually recovering since April, and the number of transactions is expected to reach 14,900 in Q2, an increase of 48% q-o-q, but a drop of 32% y-o-y. The year-to-date prices fell marginally and are expected to further stabilize. Some popular housing estates recorded slight quarterly growth, demonstrating signs of healthy end-user demand. In 2H 2022, the residential market will continue to be driven by primary sales, particularly for buyers looking for upgrading options. We expect property prices will rise by no more than 3% this year. In the long run, infrastructure projects will continue to improve connectivity in Hong Kong, thereby narrowing the price gap between the New Territories and urban areas. This will also accelerate urban renewal and benefit the city's residential real estates.
Due to the pandemic and geopolitical tensions displayed earlier this year, residential transactions in Q1 were sluggish. However, as local COVID-19 infections began to drop sharply and social distancing measures were gradually eased, primary sales activities resumed with transactions picking up significantly in Q2. The number of sales and purchase agreements in the first two months of Q2 (10,099 deals) had already surpassed the total of 10,056 deals in Q1. Furthermore, the number of transactions in the primary market increased nearly six-fold m-o-m from 258 deals in April to 1,492 deals in May, while the secondary market transactions also performed well and reached 4,700 deals in May.
Keith Chan, Director, Head of Research, Hong Kong, Cushman and Wakefield commented: "During the heights of the fifth pandemic wave, primary sales and projects were delayed due to restrictions. From March to April, primary transactions' share of the overall market reached just 6-7%, but later rose to 24% in May, reflecting recovery in overall sentiment driven by the rebound of primary sales. It is estimated that circa 4,800 transactions will be recorded in June, contributing to circa 14,900 transactions in Q2, a sharp increase of 48% q-o-q, but still down 32% y-o-y"
Despite the increase in transactions recorded, the overall residential prices are still down year-to-date. However, the discounted unit sales momentum will likely moderate, and therefore, the price decline will gradually slow. As per the latest government data, a price drop of about 2% was recorded from January to April.
Edgar Lai, Senior Director, Valuation and Advisory, Hong Kong, Cushman & Wakefield shared: "Although the overall property prices are still down, some popular housing estates have begun to rebound due to high demand. Relatively speaking, smaller lump sum units such as City One Shatin, rose by 1.1% q-o-q; while Taikoo Shing, representing the mid-price market, was flat; Meanwhile, luxurious residential, such as Residence Bel-Air, edged up by 0.7% q-o-q"
The completion of the MTR's East Rail Line Cross-Harbour Extension marks its first continuous railway line project connecting New Territories, Kowloon and Hong Kong Island altogether. In addition, the cross-bay link tunnel connecting Tseung Kwan O and Lam Tin is expected to start operating in 2H this year, further connecting the future Route 6 highway to the East and West of Kowloon by 2026. Edgar Lai explained: "As the railway network and infrastructure become more accessible, the travel time is shortened, and the connectivity between the urban areas and the New Territories is further enhanced. It is expected that the price gap between the New Territories areas and the urban areas will be narrowed. For example, the opening of the MTR Tseung Kwan O Line has helped pushed the property prices in Tseung Kwan O noticeably, outperforming the other housing estates along the Kwun Tong line by a 10-20% premium." At the same time, the pace of urban renewal has also been accelerated, thanks to the development of various infrastructure projects. For example, the URA recently announced large-scale redevelopment plans in the Kowloon City area and To Kwa Wan area."
Mr Keith Chan concluded: "In the long run, the infrastructure improvements will benefit the local property market, but home buyers will inevitably face many challenges, such as rising interest rates driven by inflation, and the uncertain pace of economic recovery in the near-term. Nevertheless, after a relatively muted market for three consecutive quarters, end-users are expected to become more active, driven by buyers who are looking for their first homes or upgrading. Subsequently, it is expected that the transactions in 2H will be supported by strong primary sales, and will gradually extend to the secondary market. Nevertheless, due to the high base of transaction volume last year, we expect the number of residential transactions to drop by circa 20-25% y-o-y by year-end. The property prices will generally stabilize throughout the year, as we maintain a forecast of no more than a 3% increment in 2022."
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Photo Caption: (Left) Keith Chan, Director, Head of Research, Hong Kong, Cushman and Wakefield
(Right) Edgar Lai, Senior Director, Valuation and Advisory, Hong Kong, Cushman & Wakefield
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