HK home sales fall over 50% in October


HONG Kong's home sales fell for a 10th straight month, dropping by half in October from a year ago as buyers put off purchases.

The value of transactions last month declined 50 percent to HK$22.5 billion (US$2.9 billion), the city's government said in a statement on its website yesterday. Sales of residential units shed 2.2 percent from September, it said.

"Transactions slowed down quite significantly particularly in the secondary market," said Buggle Lau, analyst at Midland Holdings Ltd, Hong Kong's biggest publicly traded realtor. Lau said while transactions in the primary market rose last month, it wasn't enough to offset the slide in used home sales.

Real estate prices, which have surged over 70 percent since early 2009, fell for the first time in seven months in July after the government introduced new housing curbs in June. Banks raised mortgage rates in September.

The rising number of Hong Kong homeowners with apartments worth less than their mortgages may further hurt sentiment already damped by the global equity rout and government curbs, Barclays Capital Research has said.

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