HONG KONG property too hot?

HONG KONG – Hong Kong’s government is expected to unveil further measures to cool its red-hot real estate market, local media reported on Friday, pushing property-related stocks lower.

The government would release the measures as early as Friday, a day after the International Monetary Fund urged Hong Kong to draw up more policies to curb fast-climbing prices, the Hong Kong Economic Journal quoted sources as saying.

The report did not provide details of what the steps might include, but some analysts have said the government could raise stamp duty on sales of some apartments.

Government officials were not immediately available for comment.

The property sub-index on Hong Kong’s stock market was down 1.9 per cent by 0344 GMT, underperforming the broader Hang Seng Index’s 0.96 per cent decline.

Housing prices have risen around 50 per cent since the beginning of last year due to brisk buying by mainland Chinese and low mortgage rates as the Chinese territory tracks the US monetary policy because of the local currency’s peg to the US dollar.

The authorities have already unveiled a number of policies this year in an attempt to curb a property market bubble in the territory.

In October, the government announced it was restricting immigration based on property investments and pledged to provide land for 20,000 private residential units annually over the next 10 years.