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Property News Weekly Digest
〈The Standard, Feb 18, 2023〉With the reopening of the border between Hong Kong and the mainland, it is expected that the Hong Kong economy will accelerate and return to its normal state.

And there has been a significant improvement in the property market atmosphere.

Increased activity in the secondary market has driven buyers to purchase small and medium-sized flats in many districts, resulting in a rebound of property prices.

By February 14, City One Shatin had recorded 16 transactions, marking a 60 percent increase in volume compared to the previous month. Additionally, DPark in Tsuen Wan saw two transactions at prices higher than the asking price, while The Reach in Yuen Long sold a unit with a 20 percent rebound in price compared to the previous month's low.

〈The Standard, Feb 17, 2023〉Canadian home prices fell for an 11th straight month as rising interest rates continued to limit what prospective buyers can afford, ramping up pressure on the country's housing market.

The national benchmark price for a home declined 1.9 percent to C$714,700 (HK$4.16 million) in January from December, data released by the Canadian Real Estate Association shows. That is down 15 percent from last year's peak.

The Canadian housing market has seen an abrupt reversal from its frenzied pandemic days as the central bank started raising interest rates last year to combat inflation.

The fast rise in borrowing costs has priced out buyers, squeezing affordability even with prices down.

〈Hong Kong Business, Feb 16, 2023〉Hong Kong will struggle to balance its budget as it launched a “sizeable” budget amidst a wide fiscal deficit, S&P reported.

The Hong Kong government projected spending to exceed $760b and a deficit reaching HK$119b in the fiscal year ending in March 2024, which is wider than S&P forecasts.

“The government could take much longer to balance its budget, especially if it keeps rolling out support measures each year," Rain Yin, S&P Global Ratings analyst, said.

S&P noted the larger-than-expected 2022 and 2023 fiscal deficits, along with the higher recurring expenses intended to stimulate the economy will likely weaken Hong Kong’s fiscal resources.

〈Asian Post, Feb 15, 2023〉The reopening of borders and easing of health requirements have led to an improved overall retail sentiment, CBRE reported.

“After the border reopening, tourist volume has significantly increased, boosting both the general retail market and the broader economy. The overall retail sentiment has improved,” Lawrence Wan, Senior Director, Head of Advisory & Transaction Services - Retail at CBRE, said.

He noted that landlords have started increasing their asking rents, particularly in tourist hotspots such as Tsim Sha Tsui and Mongkok.

〈Asian Post, Feb 14, 2023〉The government did not make any adjustments on the cooling measures for the housing market, which has been subdued due to interest rates and weakening economy.

In a statement, JLL said it may be an adequate time to adjust the market by loosening cooling measures.

“As the government has not relaxed measures in this situation, I believe there will be little chance of relaxation in the future," Joseph Tsang, chairman at JLL in Hong Kong, said.