Most Hong Kong homeowners now expect home prices to drop over the next 12 months, a sharp increase over the 29 percent who foresaw a declining market in the previous quarter and the 9 percent who had the same expectations in the second quarter.
A Citi Hong Kong survey released Thursday found that 57 percent of homeowners expect home values to fall, with those expecting an upswing decreasing to 18 percent — a precipitous decline from the 69 percent who foresaw rising prices in the second-quarter survey and the 38 percent who were feeling optimistic in the third-quarter poll.
A quarter of the 500 respondents said they expect prices to stay flat, and 71 percent said they were, in fact, hopeful that prices would drop.
Bad Property News Piles Up
The quarterly survey comes as a slew of recent news reports suggest investors are fleeing the market or trying to lock in a profit while a profit can still be had. In the latest sign of a wobbling market, a report in the South China Morning Post pointed to a rush for the exits, with investors looking to unload their properties amid price plunges of more than 20 percent at a number of Hong Kong estates, including Kingswood Villas in Tin Shui Wai and Park Island in Ma Wan, among others.
In addition, the report said, only two sales of “micro-flats” were reported last week at the T-Plus development in Tuen Mun, out of 73 flats on offer, leading to the flat sales being cancelled early.
Despite the chary outlook, the Citi survey said fewer non-homeowning respondents — 67 percent — felt it was not a good time to purchase a home, down from 74 percent in the third quarter. However, only 4 percent said they fell it was a good or excellent time to buy a home, up from just 2 percent in the third quarter.
Down Payment or Island Getaway?
Among the non-homeowner respondents in the telephone survey, 63 percent said they were not hopeful they would be able to afford a residential property within the next decade, and would spend money they would otherwise use on a downpayment for a home on such extravagances as holidays abroad and “dining out.”
The non-homeowners cited their key reasons for wanting to buy a home as the need for personal living space (56 percent), investment purposes (51 percent), and improvement of living environment (38 percent).