RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY | Cesar Tordesillas, Hong Kong

Hong Kong to maintain housing curbs, says Tsang

Hong Kong will maintain curbs on the housing market even after the value of home sales dropped 50 percent in October from the same period a year earlier, Chief Executive Donald Tsang said.


“You can see a soft landing, which is quite nice, but we are not going to retract or retrench some of the measures we have taken,” said Tsang. head office in New York yesterday. “The market will not totally collapse. But over time,
we’ll see a moderation in prices, which is exactly what we want.”

The value of housing transactions dropped 50 percent in October to HK$22.5 billion or US$2.9 billion, after the government raised minimum down-payment requirements, boosted mortgage rates and increased land sales to curb a housing bubble.

“The measures we’ve taken as far as driving away speculators have been very effective,” said Tsang, 67, who will step down as chief executive in June. “If there’s a bubble in the market, the bubble is removed.”

The curbs came after property prices soared more than 70 percent since early 2009, fueled by record low mortgage rates, a shortage of new housing supply and an influx of buyers from other parts of China.

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