A hot spring selling season forecast as property market roars back to life
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A hot spring selling season forecast as property market roars back to life

Real estate leader says strong sales last month point to a busy season ahead

By Shannon Molloy
Wed, Sep 6, 2023 9:56amGrey Clock 2 min

Ray White boss Dan White is forecasting a bumper spring selling season for Australia’s property market, after the real estate company wrote a staggering $6.9 billion in sales last month.

August’s stellar result was 14 percent higher than the same month last year and only four percent down on 2021 when record home price growth was seen.

“Our August sales results officially certified the renewed and broad-based resurgence in the residential market that we have been seeing since late May,” Mr White said.

Dan White, managing director at Ray White

May was when Ray White saw a small “but identifiable” lift in new listings coming to market, particularly in the eastern states, he said.

“This was very unusual as new listings normally drop in the winter months. Interest rates were still rising, and given that the expectation was for an increasingly depressed market, was this a blip? But the trend became firmer in June, and stronger again in July.”

Ray White Group listed 10,500 homes in August, up 12 percent on last year and more than 20 percent higher than 2021.

And Mr White revealed the company’s pre-listing data shows a “strong” flow of more listings in the next few weeks.

“Buyers, including potential sellers that intend to repurchase, now have a lot more property to choose from. The market is very well-stocked for spring.”

Despite an increase in supply, buyer demand remains elevated across much of the country, meaning prices are likely to continue rising in the months ahead.

CoreLogic’s latest Home Value Index, released this week, shows home prices nationally inched upwards by 0.8 percent in August – the sixth consecutive month of growth.

Since bottoming out in February, prices at a national level are 4.9 per cent higher, adding $34,000 to the median value of a dwelling.

Sydney has led the recovery trend, with a gain of 8.8% since values found a floor in the Harbour City in January, while Brisbane has also seen values up 6.2% since bottoming out in February.

Ray White’s Lower North Shore Group posted $216 million in sales in August while Ray White Quakers Hill sold 135 homes.

Mr White is expecting the coming months – traditionally the busiest in real estate – to be just as busy.

“There will be enough stock to record some big results – maybe not at 2021 levels but not too far off,” he said. “So much depends of course on the broader economic sentiment and how that influences buyer behaviour.”

One likely driver of sustained buyer confidence is the decision this week by the Reserve Bank to leave interest rates on hold, which has led many economists to believe the tightening cycle is on hold for now.



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Hong Kong Takes Drastic Action to Avert Property Slump

The city’s real-estate market has been hurt by high interest rates and mainland China’s economic slowdown

By ELAINE YU
Fri, Mar 1, 2024 3 min

Hong Kong has taken a bold step to ease a real-estate slump, scrapping a series of property taxes in an effort to turn around a market that is often seen as a proxy for the city’s beleaguered economy.

The government has removed longstanding property taxes that were imposed on nonpermanent residents, those buying a second home, or people reselling a property within two years after buying, Financial Secretary Paul Chan said in his annual budget speech on Wednesday.

The move is an attempt to revive a property market that is still one of the most expensive in the world, but that has been badly shaken by social unrest, the fallout of the government’s strict approach to containing Covid-19 and the slowdown of China’s economy . Hong Kong’s high interest rates, which track U.S. rates due to its currency peg,  have increased the pressure .

The decision to ease the tax burden could encourage more buying from people in mainland China, who have been a driving force in Hong Kong’s property market for years. Chinese tycoons, squeezed by problems at home, have  in some cases become forced sellers  of Hong Kong real estate—dealing major damage to the luxury segment.

Hong Kong’s super luxury homes  have lost more than a quarter of their value  since the middle of 2022.

The additional taxes were introduced in a series of announcements starting in 2010, when the government was focused on cooling down soaring home prices that had made Hong Kong one of the world’s least affordable property markets. They are all in the form of stamp duty, a tax imposed on property sales.

“The relevant measures are no longer necessary amidst the current economic and market conditions,” Chan said.

The tax cuts will lead to more buying and support prices in the coming months, said Eddie Kwok, senior director of valuation and advisory services at CBRE Hong Kong, a property consultant. But in the longer term, the market will remain sensitive to the level of interest rates and developers may still need to lower their prices to attract demand thanks to a stockpile of new homes, he said.

Hong Kong’s authorities had already relaxed rules last year to help revive the market, allowing home buyers to pay less upfront when buying certain properties, and cutting by half the taxes for those buying a second property and for home purchases by foreigners. By the end of 2023, the price index for private homes reached a seven-year low, according to Hong Kong’s Rating and Valuation Department.

The city’s monetary authority relaxed mortgage rules further on Wednesday, allowing potential buyers to borrow more for homes valued at around $4 million.

The shares of Hong Kong’s property developers jumped after the announcement, defying a selloff in the wider market. New World Development , Sun Hung Kai Properties and Henderson Land Development were higher in afternoon trading, clawing back some of their losses from a slide in their stock prices this year.

The city’s budget deficit will widen to about $13 billion in the coming fiscal year, which starts on April 1. That is larger than expected, Chan said. Revenues from land sales and leases, an important source of government income, will fall to about $2.5 billion, about $8.4 billion lower than the original estimate and far lower than the previous year, according to Chan.

The sweeping property measures are part of broader plans by Hong Kong’s government to prop up the city amid competition from Singapore and elsewhere. Stringent pandemic controls and anxieties about Beijing’s political crackdown led to  an exodus of local residents and foreigners  from the Asian financial centre.

But tens of thousands of Chinese nationals have arrived in the past year, the result of Hong Kong  rolling out new visa rules aimed at luring talent in 2022.

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