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‘Government is crazy’: increase in mortgages for first-time Hong Kong homebuyers will boost debt, li
8/1/2019 15:13:37

‘Government is crazy’: increase in mortgages for first-time Hong Kong homebuyers will boost debt, limit cooling measures
(SCMP)

A possible increase in the amount first-time homebuyers can borrow as mortgage may encourage people in Hong Kong to chase expensive property, further driving up prices in the world’s most expensive property market, analysts have said.

This comes after Paul Chan Mo-po, the special administrative region’s Financial Secretary, hinted on January 5 that the government was considering relaxing “loan-to-value” ratios for mortgages to help first-time homebuyers. But he did not say when this might happen. A loan-to-value ratio represents the percentage of a property’s value a homebuyer can borrow.

he maximum loan-to-value ratio for homes worth between HK$7 million (US$893,069) and HK$10 million is 60 per cent, subject to a loan cap of HK$5 million. And through the Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation’s mortgage insurance scheme, first-time buyers can get as much as 90 per cent of an apartment’s value for homes that cost less than HK$4 million, and 80 per cent for homes that cost HK$6 million or below.

“When prices pick up, who will benefit? Those who already have homes, and developers,” she added.

The prices of lived-in homes in Hong Kong have fallen by 7.2 per cent since August 2018, but are still 2.2 per cent higher than in January 2018, according to the city’s Rating and Valuation Department.

“It will push those who have not thought about buying a home into the market, or those who got cold feet earlier. We will start to see that cooling measures, added and adjusted earlier, will be lifted one by one,” he said.

Tse said, in the initial stages, homebuyers might be able to receive as much as 90 per cent of property values as loans for homes that cost between HK$4 million and HK$6 million.

Alvin Cheung Chi-wai, associate director at Prudential Brokerage, said easing restrictions on mortgages will definitely push up home prices. “This is an alternative way for the government to lift cooling measures,” he said.

“The sentiment will change as buyers as well as developers will foresee that home prices will soon stop dropping. We will not see developers or sellers slashing their prices by too much – more than what Sino Land did,” said Cheung.

“It is good news for buyers, at first look, as you can save less and pay less for a down payment. But it is not just you. Others can also pay less, which means a large consumption power will be released. When demand is up, and supply has not changed, a price increase is inevitable.”

如讀者有問題,請電郵致 alvincheung@pru.com.hk

 
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