Property prices in Sai Kung and Clearwater Bay will decline about 20 per cent during 2016, according to the founder of Spacious. This is probably the most sophisticated real estate-analysing website in Hong Kong.
Asif Ghafoor, a former Goldman Sachs executive, said leasing prices are likely to drop 10 to 15 per cent as well. “The market has not been this bad since SARS,” he said. “Transaction volume is certainly down. This is a precursor of the price falls to come. Sellers are not getting the prices they ask for. Owners who can hold out will. Those who can’t will be forced to sell. There will be a lot of bargains to be had in the next 12 months.” People leasing will be in a strong negotiating position.
Asif said the turning of the U.S. interest rate cycle will have a significant effect. Debt will become more expensive. In Hong Kong Island and Kowloon property prices will be even more volatile, because of external factors: Overseas Chinese demand and financial sector workers with housing allowances coming and going. Government controls are squashing sentiment. Demand and supply are steadier in Sai Kung and CWB and the market is therefore more reliable.
During 2015 the property market in Sai Kung and CWB was “reasonably flat while there were big fluctuations on the Island and Kowloon. August and September saw a couple of drops in leasing and sales prices. In the last couple of months prices picked up again. 2015’s picture overall was flattish with blips.”
Asif and his team created the Spacious website three years ago. He describes it as a platform that makes finding a property to buy or rent simple. Agents list their properties in return for monthly fees. Depending on the number of properties subscription fees charged to agents range from $2000 to $6000 a month. Spacious does not take commission on sales or leases to maintain independence. Asif has a master’s degree in mathematics and computer science from University College, London. The Spacious website is interactive and can tell you whether properties are over-valued or under-valued and how they compare to those in other districts. It will also give you demographic data of areas you are interested in : ages, ethnicity, even marital status. There are listings too of haunted houses. No joke, a depressing number of buildings from which people have jumped to their deaths. The website will give you a valuation of your property and its leasing potential.
Spacious website was designed to be “easy to use, engaging and beautiful with full data transparency,” Asif said.