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Hong Kong home prices down for 5th straight month in October

But the rate of decline has slowed. October prices dipped 1.3%, compared with a revised fall of 1.7% in September

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The property sector has been resilient, unlike the tourism and retail sectors, which have been hit by the anti-government protests and the US-China trade spat.

Hong Kong

PRIVATE home prices in Hong Kong slipped for a fifth consecutive month in October as the Asian financial hub grapples with its biggest political crisis in decades, although the pace of decline slowed.

October prices dropped 1.3 per cent in one of the world's most expensive property markets, compared with a revised fall of 1.7 per cent in September, government data showed on Friday.

Thomas Lam, executive director of property consultancy Knight Frank, said: "Looking at the social and market situation, the price index will continue to decline in November and December."

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He added that low interest rates would provide some support.

The property sector has been relatively resilient compared with the tourism and retail sectors, which have been hit badly by six months of often violent anti-government protests and the US-China trade dispute. Hong Kong's home prices are still up 4.6 per cent so far this year.

Aiming to support first-time home buyers, the government last month relaxed rules, allowing them to borrow as much as 90 per cent of a home costing up to HK$8 million (S$1.39 million).

That relaxation of the mortgage cap for first-time buyers as well as a lending rate cut helped restore purchasing power in the housing market in November, Knight Frank said earlier this week.

Knight Frank also expects a planned vacancy tax will prompt developers to dispose of unsold stock at attractive prices for the remainder of 2019.

Realtor Centaline has estimated that sales in the secondary housing market in November will hit their highest level in six months, climbing 40 per cent more than October. Commercial property prices have also been disappointing for sellers. An auction this week saw a record amount paid for a Hong Kong property site, but it was on the lower end of estimates.

Sun Hung Kai Properties won the auction for a commercial site above the high-speed railway station linking the city to the mainland with its HK$42.2 billion bid.

Property surveyors had given a range of HK$38 billion to HK$79 billion. REUTERS