Date
25 January 2017
Chinese buyers are seeking homes as investments and for their own use, undeterred by a 15 percent extra tax Hong Kong imposes on non-residents. Photo: Bloomberg
Chinese buyers are seeking homes as investments and for their own use, undeterred by a 15 percent extra tax Hong Kong imposes on non-residents. Photo: Bloomberg

Wheelock: Chinese returning to Hong Kong home market

Renewed demand from Chinese buyers looking for offshore assets is helping drive sales at Wheelock Properties (Hong Kong) Ltd.

Managing director Ricky Wong said mainland buyers of Wheelock’s mass-market properties doubled to 10 percent from a year ago, Bloomberg reports.

They accounted for nearly 20 percent of September sales at its Kowloon development One Homantin compared with about 5 percent when it launched six months ago, he said.

Skyrocketing prices for housing in Chinese cities, fears of a weaker yuan and the desire to diversify their wealth offshore is driving resurgent demand from mainland buyers, said Wong.

Buyers are seeking homes as investments and for their own use, undeterred by a 15 percent extra tax Hong Kong imposes on non-residents.

“They are willing to pay the stamp duty,” said Wong. “The price gap with Hong Kong is getting smaller.”

Home prices in China rose the most in six years in August, prompting more cities to slap curbs on property purchases.

Beijing last week increased down payments for first-time home buyers to 35 percent of the purchase price, the highest among China’s biggest cities.

Shenzhen tightened measures on Oct. 4, including a minimum 70 percent down payment for second properties and restrictions on non-residents.

Chinese buyers helped propel Hong Kong property prices up 115 percent from January 2008 through to the second quarter of 2013 when curbs aimed at foreign demand started to bite.

The share of mainland buyers of luxury properties, defined as homes worth more than HK$12 million (US$1.5 million), fell from 34 percent in the third quarter of 2012 to 13 percent a year later, according to research by Centaline Property Agency in Hong Kong.

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