Luxury home prices in Hong Kong, Singapore dip as govts act

Hong Kong and Singapore are two major Asian cities that recorded declines in luxury home prices in the first quarter on government measures to prevent housing bubbles, according to international property consultant Jones Lang LaSalle Inc (JLL).

Prices in Hong Kong, the world's most expensive place to buy an apartment, fell 1.1 per cent in the first quarter from the previous three months, while they declined 0.6 per cent in Singapore, the Chicago-based realtor said.

Asian governments from Singapore to China are imposing measures such as purchase restrictions and additional transaction taxes in an effort to counter monetary easing by central banks in the US and Europe that have kept borrowing costs low and the increased buying power of an expanding middle class in the region.

''Policy restrictions in some markets will continue to limit price growth for the rest of the year,'' Jane Murray, head of Asia-Pacific research at Jones Lang LaSalle, said in the statement.

Luxury home prices in Jakarta rose 8.7 per cent during the quarter, the most among the nine cities surveyed by Jones Lang LaSalle. Kuala Lumpur was second with a gain of 6 per cent, while Beijing and Shanghai advanced 2.4 per cent and 1.8 per cent, respectively, the survey showed.

Prices in Hong Kong will fall as much as 10 per cent over the rest of 2013, while Singapore will drop about 5 per cent, the consultant said. Jakarta will continue to lead growth in the region, it added.