Bank valuations catch up with secondary boom

Property | Staff reporter 13 May 2021

An easier time with the pandemic and the bullishness of the market have spurred an upturn in secondary-market deals, driving banks to increase valuations in this segment.

Eighteen of the 20 index housing estates have seen valuations increase between 0.6 and 3.5 percent month on month in the latest appraisals.

Of these, small and medium-sized housing estates such as Metro Harbour View in Mong Kok and Kornhill in Quarry Bay performed strongly.

The one estate that had a flat performance was City Garden in North Point, while only Nan Fung Plaza in Tseung Kwan O saw a decline in valuations.

This reflects that banks have become more aggressive with their valuations amid the boom in the secondary market.

Alex Leung Pui-wang, a senior director of CHFT Advisory and Appraisal, pointed out that data from the Rating and Valuation Department showed that the SAR's housing supply for this and next year will be lower than the past year.

He says this will cause people to worry that purchasing later in the year will result in higher prices, which along with the relaxation of mortgage restrictions by banks will boost the secondary market.

Secondary property transactions over the Easter holiday nearly doubled compared to the same period last year, Leung said.

With the increase in transaction prices and volume, banks naturally raised their valuations.

Moreover, as most of the fresh housing supply is concentrated in the New Territories, buyers looking to change flats have caused an uptick in prices in Kowloon and on Hong Kong Island.

Among the index estates, valuations for Metro Harbour View saw the most significant increase.

A 353-sq-ft unit in tower 6 that was valued at HK$5.99 million last month was lately valued at HK$6.2 million, showing a rise of more than 3.5 percent.

Blue-chip housing estate Kornhill also recorded a significant rise. A 596-sq-ft unit in block E saw its valuation rise 3 percent from HK$10.38 million last month to HK$10.69 million.

A 1,000-sq-ft unit at 22 Broadway Street, Mei Foo Sun Chuen in Lai Chi Kok that was estimated at HK$15.1 million last month saw its latest valuation increase 2.9 percent to HK$15.54 million.

In Ngau Tau Kok's Amoy Gardens, a unit with an area of 391 sq ft valued at HK$5.76 million last month saw its latest valuation increase to HK$5.9 million.

A 462-sq-ft unit at Nan Fung Plaza, the only estate that saw a decline, saw its valuation fall from HK$7.68 million last month to HK$7.44 million, down by more than 3.1 percent month on month.

However, the estate's valuations saw an upward trend of 1.5 percent last month and 7.8 percent between February and March, suggesting that the current slump should only be a technical adjustment.

Ricacorp chief executive Willy Liu Wai-keung also noted that bank valuations have become more aggressive.

"The public believes that the market outlook will stay strong as the vaccination program eases the pandemic," he said.

He expects to see a resumption of cross-border travel in the middle of the year, which coupled with the low-interest environment would drive transactions.

Sammy Po Siu-ming, chief executive of Midland Realty's residential division, said although new projects have been launched across the city, many buyers remain interested in secondary-market homes.

Po believes many prospective buyers are still monitoring the market trend and he expects prices to rebound significantly once cross-border travel resumes.

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