HONG KONG (Reuters) -Hong Kong’s finance chief said on Thursday he does not see a sharp risk to the city’s real estate market nor a need to adjust property control measures, as the financial hub braces for more interest rate hikes.
Finance Secretary Paul Chan was speaking after the Hong Kong Monetary Authority raised its base rate charged through the overnight discount window by 75 basis points to 3.5%, its highest since October 2008, following the same move by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Chan said that while home prices in Hong Kong have dropped close to over 6% in the first eight months as rising rates hurt sentiment, the property market depends on many factors including employment and the repayment capability of homeowners.
“I don’t think there’s a risk of a sharp adjustment,” he said. “The market transactions are low, but there’s no need to adjust control measures.”
Current measures include stamp duties on non-Hong Kong citizens and second homebuyers.
Hong Kong banks, which have lagged their U.S. equivalents in raising rates in recent months, are expected to increase their best lending rate as soon as Thursday, the first increase since 2018.
Official data showed Hong Kong private home prices in July dropped to the lowest since February 2020, as homebuyers turned more bearish due to rising interest rates and an uncertain outlook.
(Reporting By Clare Jim and Donny Kwok; Editing by Anne Marie Roantree, Christian Schmollinger and Kim Coghill)