Housing market seen positively by govt, no need to alleviate ‘spicy measures’

The Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury said today that the government will maintain healthy and stable development of the residential property market, claiming no need to adjust the "spicy measures" - the government’s measures to stabilize the property market.

In the Legislative Council on Wednesday, Secretary Christopher Hui Ching-yu said the government considered a promising outlook in Hong Kong’s property market by taking into account multiple factors, including the speed and range of property price changes, the transaction volume of residential properties, future supplies, and market sentiments.

“We do not consider it necessary to adjust the measures to monitor the demands for residential properties under the current environment,” Hui said.

His speech came after lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun criticized in the Council that the Policy Address issued in October failed to conduct practical measures on alleviating the economic recession for the middle and sandwich classes.

"I proposed [to] implement as early as possible relief measures such as 'tax rebates, withdrawal of harsh measures and stamp duty reduction,'" he said, "as well as suspension of making Mandatory Provident Fund contributions and payments for MPF contributions made on people's behalf," citing it will enable citizen's "sense of well-being."

However, Hui responded that he believed that opportunities lie in Hong Kong’s economy even though it is facing challenges in the short term.

"The number of residential mortgage loans in negative equity is still on the low side compared to the peak during the SARS period in 2003 or the global financial crisis in 2008," he said.

"The level of risk involved in the bank mortgage business is still at a controllable level,” Hui said, noting the government will not adjust the measures to monitor the demands for residential properties under the current environment.

We will continue to make reference to the relevant indicators and take timely and appropriate measures in response to market changes, he added.