February 1, 2019 / 9:05 AM / 9 months ago

Hong Kong sees 1st negative equity mortgage cases in 2 years

HONG KONG, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Hong Kong had its first cases of negative equity on residential mortgage loans in two years in the last quarter of 2018, according to the city’s de facto central bank, as home prices fell a fifth consecutive month in December.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority said in a statement on Thursday its survey estimated 262 negative equity cases in the October-December quarter, which were related to bank staff housing loans or loans under a mortgage insurance programme. These loans usually have higher loan-to-value ratios.

The aggregate value of residential mortgage loans in negative equity during the quarter was HK$1.19 billion ($151.68 million) and the unsecured portion of these loans amounted to HK$58 million, HKMA added.

Hong Kong private home prices dropped 2.4 percent in December from the previous month, data from Hong Kong’s Rating and Valuation Department’s showed. Prices have been declining every month since August.

For full-year 2018, prices climbed 1.6 percent, the smallest gain in 10 years. ($1 = 7.8457 Hong Kong dollars) (Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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