The Hong Kong government will introduce appropriate measures if the local property market is hurt by external factors such as an interest rate hike in the United States, Financial Secretary John Tsang said in his budget speech on Wednesday.
“The timing and pace of the US interest rate hike as well as further monetary easing measures of the central banks of eurozone and Japan could have significant impact on the local property market,” Tsang said.
“The government will continue to monitor market conditions closely, and I will not hesitate to introduce measures when necessary, in order to maintain the healthy and stable development of the property market and safeguard the stability of our macroeconomic and financial systems,” he said.
Tsang said homebuyers should take extra care and bear in mind the potential risk they need to bear in case of a market downturn.
The property market has revived since April last year, with both flat prices and transaction volumes picking up. There has been a double-digit increase in the prices of small and medium-sized flats.
Tsang said the government will optimize land utilization and increase land supply through a combination of measures.
In the fiscal year starting April 1, 2014, the government put up for sale a total of 20 residential sites, capable of providing 6,300 private residential units, according to the budget report.
Taking into account the railway property development projects, Urban Renewal Authority projects as well as private development and redevelopment projects, available land supply has a capacity of producing 20,000 units.
The 2015-16 Land Sale Program will include 29 residential sites capable of providing 16,000 units. These include 16 new sites. Taking into account the housing land supply from different sources, a total of 19,000 units can be provided, the report said.
The government will also pursue its plan to relocate three government office buildings in Wan Chai.
The 29 departments affected will be moved in phases to buildings being planned in various districts, including West Kowloon, Cheung Sha Wan, Kai Tak, Chai Wan and Tseung Kwan O.
The relocation will release 175,000 square meters of commercial floor area and increase the supply of Grade A office space in Wan Chai.
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