No plans to ease property curbs, Chan reiterates

Finance | Gary Poon 15 Jan 2019

Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po, who earlier fueling speculation the government would ease mortgage restrictions, said yesterday the government has no plan to ease property curbs.

"We are glad to see that the property market is correcting orderly," he said in a TV interview, adding: "There is no need for us to do anything to sustain the market. We do not have the plan to relax any of the cooling measures, such as special stamp duty."

He emphasized the government monitors the market situation continuously.

"Two weeks ago, what we talked about was in response to certain cases from the community on whether to improve the mortgage insurance available to the target group of first time home buyers for small and medium-sized properties," he said. "But we do not have the intention to do that now. I have just set out the consideration that the government needs to take into account, and no time frame that such measure would be launched."

Chan had earlier written in his blog the government may consider seeking solutions for first-time buyers, who are able to make monthly mortgage payments, but not the downpayment. He also said protectionism will not happen in Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the government is actively promoting financial technology, and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority will launch the first batch of virtual banking licenses this quarter. Also, after the Hong Kong dollar hit the weaker end of the trading band a few times recently, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury James Henry Lau said a strong US dollar would affect capital flows, but stressed the market shouldn't worry too much about it.

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