When the Fed extended its guidance for extremely low rates to 2014 and later, none of the Chinese government’s measures to deter property speculation could deter ‘homebuyers’ from bidding up prices. However, as the chart below shows, the disconnect between home prices (extreme highs) and home sales (near lows) has never been greater and with the Chinese looking to further control speculation at the same time as a Fed that is increasingly jawboning a slowing to its easy money policy, the prices of Hong Kong property has begun to drop in recent weeks. As Bloomberg notes, prices have fallen 4.2% from a record reached in mid-March, compared with a 77% contraction in sales from their post-global financial crisis peak in 2010. The prices of property is explicitly deterring the ‘urban dream’ that we explained here, but any sustained drop in property prices (given the shadow lending and collateralization this bubble represents) leaves China once again between a bubble-pricking rock and an inflationary (social unrest harboring) hard place.
The Hong Kong dollar’s peg to the U.S. counterpart has kept borrowing costs in the city at near-record lows, underpinning a 109% gain in home prices since the beginning of 2009, even as the government imposed several property curbs to cool demand.
Hong Kong property prices relative to sales…