HK home prices seen to come down to earth

Updated: 2016-01-25 18:28

By Soma Roychowdhury(

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Nearly two-thirds of Hong Kong residents believe home prices in the SAR will fall in this year.

That is according to a quarterly survey commissioned by Citibank, which saw 62 percent of the some 500 respondents predict the decline, the highest number to do so since the survey began in 2010.

The University of Hong Kong's Social Sciences Research Centre is the commissioned body carrying out the quarterly survey since 2010 on local residents' opinions regarding home ownership decisions and perceptions of price trends.

In the fourth quarter of 2015, around 62 percent of respondents predicted local home prices will fall in the following 12 months, up 16 percentage points from the third quarter.

The survey also found that only 3 percent of the respondents regarded the period under review to be the best time to buy a house, the same level compared to the third quarter.

As many as 67 percent, however, thought it was not a good time for such a purchase, down 7 percentage points from the third quarter.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong home prices have hit the most unaffordable levels ever posted in the 11 years that US-based real estate research agency Demographia has been conducting global surveys.

According to the annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, which used data from the third quarter of 2015, the median home in Hong Kong cost 19 times the median annual pretax household income, the highest multiple Demographia has measured, and up from 17 in last year's report, according to the company's website. Demographia classifies any region with a median multiple of over 5.1 as "severely unaffordable."

Sydney, Australia, was the second most-unaffordable market, after its multiple climbed to 12.2 from 9.8 in 2014, the biggest year-to-year increase ever reported by Demographia. Vancouver, Canada, ranked third, with a rating of 10.8, while San Jose, California, ranked fourth with a score of 9.7, the survey showed. London was in eighth place with a ratio of 8.5.