Hong Kongers Spend 67% of Income on Mortgages

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Hong Kong’s housing affordability looks like its already giving Carrie Lam a headache

At the top of today’s news, the world’s least affordable housing market worsened in Q2, with Hong Kong denizens now spending two-thirds of their incomes on mortgages. The city’s housing misery may be creating an opportunity for co-living entrepreneurs, as a Filipino developer plans to convert fancy apartments into shared spaces pricier than rent at the Four Seasons. Also in the news, Anbang Group’s headaches are mounting, and a Chinese official warns on the country’s property bubble. Read on for all these stories and more.

HK Housing Gets Even Less Affordable

Hong Kong’s housing affordability ratio, which measures the proportion of income spent on mortgages, worsened to about 67 percent for the quarter, the government said Friday, up from 56 percent in the year-earlier period.

The latest figures underscore the challenges that incoming Chief Executive Carrie Lam faces in taming home prices in a city where it now takes a household 18 years of median income to buy a home, according to data from Demographia. Compared with the 1997 peak, overall flat prices in June were 94 percent higher, according to government data. Read more>>

$1.3B HK Soho Redevelopment Project Draws 28 Potential Bidders

The Urban Renewal Authority (URA) has drawn stronger-than-expected initial response from potential bidders for its office-retail-hotel redevelopment project near Soho in Central Hong Kong, which could be worth more than HK$10 billion (US$1.28 billion).

Twenty-eight developers submitted expressions of interest for the plot, named “Site C”, bounded by Graham, Gage, and Cochrane Streets, when it closed on Friday at noon, but only two of them were from the mainland, according to Chinese media reports. Read more>>

US Hotel Union Files Labor Charges against Anbang

To the growing list of entities questioning the ownership of Anbang Insurance Group, the Chinese financial conglomerate, add one more: an American hotel union.

The union, Unite Here, said in a statement on Thursday that it had filed federal unfair labor practice charges against Anbang and three hotels it owns in the United States for failing to comply with its request for information on the company’s ownership and sources of financing. Read more>>

Eton To Convert HK Apartments into Luxury-Priced Co-Living Spaces

A developer is converting 18 flats in an upmarket complex in one of Hong Kong’s most prestigious neighbourhoods into 270 units as small as 80 square feet to rent out as co-living spaces to young graduates and jobseekers.

Eton Properties, owned by the family of Filipino magnate Lucio Tan, will convert Woodland Villas on Shouson Hill Road into single-bedroom flats between 80 and 200 sq ft in size, with all-inclusive monthly rent starting from HK$7,600. Read more>>

Property Bubble Has “Kidnapped” China’s Financial Institutions

A top Chinese lawmaker has warned that profiteering by real estate developers is sapping the lifeblood from China’s economy, as authorities make efforts to contain runaway property prices. Strong growth of real estate prices, sales and construction has powered China’s economy this year, putting gross domestic product on the path to its first annual growth acceleration since 2010.

“The real estate industry’s excessive prosperity has not only kidnapped local governments but also kidnapped financial institutions – restraining and even harming the development of the real economy, inflating asset bubbles and accumulating debt risk,” Yin Zhongqing, deputy director of the finance and economics committee of the National People’s Congress, said in a speech on Thursday. Read more>>

Singapore Investment Market Surges 50% to S$8.1B in H1

According to research by RCA, Singapore’s commercial real estate investment market grew by 50% to $8.1b in 1H17, reaching its highest position on the leaderboard since 2013. The growth was underpinned by several office and residential market deals. The strength looks set to continue with an additional $6.3b (US$4.6b) of deals in contract.

The investment flows have gained momentum despite a sluggish rental market. A joint venture of government-linked investors bought the Jurong Point shopping mall for $2.2b, contributing to the 8% growth in investment sales in the region. Read more>>

Tune in again tomorrow for more news, and be sure to follow @Mingtiandi on Twitter, or bookmark Mingtiandi’s LinkedIn page for headlines as they happen.

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