Sales of second-hand flats in Hong Kong decline

Sales of homes in the secondary market slowed last week after most discounted flats, located mainly in the New Territories, were snapped up by bargain hunters, property agents said.

During the week ended May 26, a total of 178 second-hand flats were sold in the 50 largest private housing estates monitored by Ricacorp Properties, down from 180 sales the previous week.

"In the absence of positive news and a decline in the number of units offered at bargain prices, it will be challenging to sustain the sales momentum in coming weeks," David Chan, a director at Ricacorp, said.

"Flat-viewing activity will turn quiet as school examinations are approaching," he said.

The number of transactions in the secondary residential market could drop by 10 to 15 per cent over the next several weeks, Chan forecasts.

Hong Kong Island saw an increase in the number of transactions last week, but Kowloon and the New Territories recorded a fall in home sales.

Thanks to revival in demand from upgraders, Ricacorp said, 33 flats changed hands in the nine housing estates it monitors on the island, up from 19 a week earlier.

Taikoo Shing accounted for 10 of the transactions, up from seven the previous week, and average transaction prices on the estate were up 15.8 per cent from a week earlier to HK$12,315 per square foot of gross floor area.

In Kowloon, 63 homes were sold, down from 77 the previous week, due to limited choice, especially for lower-priced flats, Ricacorp said.

In the New Territories sales dropped to 82, from 84 the previous week, as some owners narrowed the scope for negotiation.

In the new-homes market, nine flats were sold over the weekend at The Green Code in Fanling for between HK$3.99 million and HK$5.25 million. A total of just 56 flats in three developments have been sold since new rules covering the sale of new flats took effect on April 29.

Sales at more than 50 projects have been put on hold as developers revise their sales brochures to comply with the new rules.
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