September 30, 2016 / 6:36 AM / 10 months ago

Hong Kong home prices hit highest level in 9 months - govt index

2 Min Read

Sept 30 (Reuters) - Hong Kong private home prices touched their highest level in nine months after climbing for five consecutive months, according to government data released on Friday, even as a recent official report warned the property outlook has become more uncertain.

Home prices rose 1.91 percent to 287.4 points compared with a month ago on a government index compiled by the Rating and Valuation Department. The figure dropped 5.86 percent year-on-year, and was 6.11 percent lower than the historic high hit in September 2015.

Hong Kong's real estate is among the most expensive in the world. One of the city's largest property agencies, Centaline Property Agency Ltd, has forecasted home prices to return to peak levels in the fourth quarter this year.

While the residential property market has stabilised since the April-June quarter, the outlook has become less certain due to factors including slower domestic growth and uncertainty from Brexit, according to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority's Half-Yearly Monetary and Financial Stability Report released on Tuesday.

Should the U.S. Federal Reserve hike interest rates later in the year, this could further weigh on the market given the local currency's peg to the U.S. dollar.

"On one hand, while market expectation of still-abundant global liquidity could provide some support to the housing market, the uncertainty surrounding the pace and effect of the U.S. rate hike will continue to pose headwinds," the report stated.

Rental prices also increased by 0.84 percent for the fourth consecutive month.

Hong Kong is ranked sixth in the recently released UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index, which assesses the risk of housing bubbles in 18 financial hubs. (Reporting by Venus Wu and Joy Leung; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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