Hong Kong private home prices rise at fastest pace in a year in April

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong’s record-breaking private home prices rose at their fastest pace in a year in April, the latest government data showed, as the city’s scorching hot housing market shows no sign of cooling down.

A government index tracking private home prices in April climbed 1.84 percent compared to a month ago, growing at the fastest pace since April 2017, according to the Rating and Valuation Department. It jumped 13.91 percent year-on-year, and 6.6 percent so far this year.

The index also saw its longest ever record-breaking streak, peaking for an 18th consecutive month in April, according to property agency Ricacorp.

The financial hub has one of the least affordable housing markets in the world, with flat prices doubling between 2010 and 2017.

A small flat under 40 square meters (431 square feet) on Hong Kong Island costs an average of HK$182,000 ($23,198.01) per square meter, or HK$17,000 per square foot, according to the Rating and Valuation Department’s April data.

In recent weeks, the market was further stimulated after local property giant Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd 0016.HK shattered land sale records and snapped up a residential plot for HK$25.16 billion.

At least eight major private housing estates in the city saw higher price growth in the first five months this year than the whole of 2017, according to Centaline, one of the city’s largest property agencies.

As housing prices continue to climb to historic peaks, some property investors now park their money at an unlikely spot - parking spaces, which tripled in value between 2010 and 2017 to an average of HK$1.4 million.

Reporting by Venus Wu; Editing by Sunil Nair