June 29, 2018 / 4:36 AM / 9 months ago

Hong Kong's private home prices maintain record-breaking run in May

FILE PHOTO: Public and private housing blocks are seen in Hong Kong October 6, 2016. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/File Photo

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong’s private home prices rose 1.7 percent in May to stand 15 percent higher than a year ago, official figures showed, amid expectations that the government will announce measures to cool the red-hot market later on Friday.

Private home prices shattered records for the 19th month in a row in May, according to an index compiled by the Rating and Valuation Department, and the monthly index has been rising non-stop since April 2016.

A tax on empty new flats held by developers is expected to be among the measures that the government could announce.

The former British colony, which is set to mark the 21st anniversary of its handover to Chinese rule on Sunday, is one of the world’s most expensive places for property.

A skilled service worker would need to work 20 years to buy a 650-square-foot flat near the city center, according to a UBS report in September, which also ranks Hong Kong’s housing market as the least affordable in a list of 20 world cities.

Reporting by Venus Wu; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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