According to JLL's latest Residential Market Monitor report, Hong Kong's primary residential market has a total of 79,000 new homes available, which may take about 5.4 years for developers to sell at the current sales velocity.
Due to the record low level of residential transaction volume, the number of unsold units of completed projects surged to 14,700 in September 2022, 36% higher than an average of 10,800 in the past three years. This figure is expected to surpass 16,000 in December 2022 due to the absence of market activity towards year-end.
As of end November, the number of units pending presale consent approval reached 20,579, an increase of 29% y-o-y. Also, among the 20,554 units with presale consent approved in 2022, around 10,000 units remained unsold. As such, it may take 5.4 years for the market to digest the unsold units of completed projects and projects under construction, based on the average annual primary sales volume of 14,568 units over the past three years.
Norry Lee, Senior Director of Projects Strategy and Consultancy Department at JLL said, "Developers mostly postponed new project launches in the last quarter of 2022 and the sales performances were weak among those launched. New launches will be crowded after Chinese New Year, and it will take a longer time for the market to absorb the unsold units. Developers may have to offer deeper discounts to boost sales as mounting inventory will intensify competition."
Nelson Wong, Executive Director of Research at JLL in Hong Kong also commented, "Most potential home buyers have taken a wait-and-see attitude and are likely to remain hesitant about home purchases in the early stage of an economic recovery. While the gradual improvement of median household income and decrease in home prices indeed partly offset the effect of rising mortgage rates for potential home buyers, the affordability ratio (hypothetical monthly mortgage payment/ monthly median income) remained high at 68.6% in September, compared to 59.7% in January. Moreover, the lackluster economy and a weak stock market continue to dampen the confidence and sentiment of potential home buyers."
Although the city may see an increase in residential demand from the expected inflow of talent after the border between mainland China and Hong Kong re-opens, Wong expects the southbound capital flows will likely be limited, at least in the near term. As punitive measures on residential properties are in place, the demand-supply balance in the housing market is far from returning to normal and mass residential capital values are expected to drop about 10% in 2023.