Hong Kong's ever-climbing property prices have long made the city a global posterchild for unaffordable housing, but there are signs change may be afoot, if buyers would just believe it.
Hong Kong's property prices have more than doubled since 2009, consistently ranking the city among the world's most expensive property markets. But now, property prices are "quite vulnerable. It's going up only because of a general consensus that it will go up," Nicole Wong, an analyst at CLSA, said recently.
"In general, we are no longer in times of extremely tight supply," she added, noting that the number of units under construction has risen sharply since 2011.
She estimates 15,000 to 18,000 saleable units will be completed over the next couple years, a 40 percent increase on 2013-15. Wong expects developers' pricing power will take a hit, especially as the primary -- or new development -- market's premium over the secondary, or resale, market has shrunk from around 40 percent to 5 percent.
Developers have stepped up incentives to buyers, a September Deutsche Bank report noted, adding that secondary transactions were seeing lower average selling prices, sometimes at below-market levels.
That's likely to be just the sort of news the city's chief executive, CY Leung, wants to hear.
In March, he told the Credit Suisse Asian Investors Conference in Hong Kong: "We need to break the backbone of the housing problem," and cited plans to add 480,000 units over the next 10 years. The city is planning to target developments in outlying areas, such as Kowloon East and East Lantau, as well as land reclamation projects between Hong Kong and Lantau islands.