Hong Kong August home prices post biggest monthly drop since February

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Private home prices in Hong Kong fell 1.1% in August, their biggest monthly drop since February, official data by the Rating and Valuation Department showed on Wednesday, as the financial centre was hit by a new wave of coronavirus infections.

The drop last month compared to a 0.5% fall in July, and wiped out the gains so far this year. Prices in one of the world’s most expensive property markets had been resilient despite the COVID-19 outbreak and political uncertainties, supported by strong demand and low interest rates.

Property agents had expected a bigger fall in prices in August, due to a lag effect, after the city was hit by a new wave of coronavirus cases in July, suppressing housing transaction volumes.

But the volumes picked up this month after the government eased some social distancing measures since the beginning of the month. They were forecast to be 25% higher in September than August, according to realtor Centaline.

Property developers have also sped up new launches over the weekend, selling a total of 330 new flats in two days, according to local media reports, the highest since June.

Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Rashmi Aich