Apartment Rents in Hong Kong Sink to Lowest in Almost Two Years
High Rise Residential Buildings, Hong Kong, China 

Apartment Rents in Hong Kong Sink to Lowest in Almost Two Years

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(Bloomberg) -- Apartment rents in Hong Kong have dropped to the lowest in almost two years as people leave the city and home owners try to lease rather than sell.

Advertised residential prices on a per-square-foot basis are the least since March 2018, data from property agency Spacious show. While the city’s rents have been under pressure since anti-government protests started mid-last year, the spreading coronavirus is also damping demand.

Apartment Rents in Hong Kong Sink to Lowest in Almost Two Years

“People with partners or spouses who aren’t working, or children who aren’t at school, they’re relocating now for the time being,” said Letizia Garcia Casalino, Colliers International Inc.’s head of residential services. In some instances, landlords are willing to offer tenants discounts as steep as 12% from current levels, she said.

The coronavirus outbreak is also weighing on secondary-market sentiment. Even though home prices inched up 1% between Jan. 19 and Feb. 9, according to the latest Centaline data, local media has been reporting on some transactions where home owners have sold at a loss.

An apartment in Yuen Long in the New Territories was sold for 13% -- or HK$1.2 million ($154,460) -- less than the original listing price, one newspaper reported earlier this week.

Other home owners who aren’t keen on cutting their asking prices are instead trying to lease out their properties, increasing supply and adding to pressure on rents, said Matthew Hung, deputy regional sales manager at Centaline Property Agency Ltd.

“Some sellers don’t want to let go of their property at a cheap price,” Hung said. “They expect the disease will end soon and therefore they’d rather rent the apartments out in the meantime.”

Hung estimated the supply of homes for rent in the northern New Territories area that he covers has increased around 10% from last month.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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