Auction Markets See Mixed Results Following Holiday Distractions
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Auction Markets See Mixed Results Following Holiday Distractions

With Sydney recording its lowest clearance rate of the year.

By Terry Christodoulou
Mon, May 2, 2022 9:24amGrey Clock 2 min

Following on from two weeks of Easter and Anzac Day distractions, capital city auction clearance rates were mostly steady at the weekend.

The national auction market reported a clearance rate of 73.1 % at the weekend which was lower than the 74.9% reported the previous weekend and well below the 83.3% recorded over the same weekend last year.

Across the country, auction numbers were predictably higher at the weekend – with 2231 listed compared to the previous holiday weekend’s 1460. However, it was lower, marginally, than the 2287 reported over the same weekend last year.

Sydney clearance rates were the lowest for the year so far with a surge in post-holiday listings.

The NSW capital reported a clearance rate of 64.5% at the weekend – similar to the 64.6% effort of last weekend but well below the 84.6% recorded over the same weekend last year.

A total of 822 Sydney homes were listed for auction on Saturday — higher than the 634 auctioned over last weekend’s holiday break but well below the 934 listed on the corresponding weekend last year.

Sydney recorded a median price of $1,765,500 for houses sold at auction at the weekend which was higher than the $1,525,000 recorded last weekend and 11.0 % higher than the same weekend last year’s $1,590,500.

Melbourne out-performed Sydney this weekend with a clearance rate of 71.8% on Saturday – similar to the 71.5% record over the previous weekend yet lower than the 80.1% recorded over the same weekend last year.

The Victorian capital saw 1116 homes were reported listed at the weekend which was predictably significantly higher than the 577 reported over the previous holiday weekend and also higher than the 1034 listed over the same weekend last year.

Further, Melbourne recorded a median price of $1,051,000 for houses sold at auction at the weekend which was higher than the $907,500 reported last weekend and also 5.0% higher than the $1,001,000 recorded over the same weekend last year.

Data powered by Dr Andrew Wilson, My Housing Market.



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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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