Hong Kong finance chief welcomes 'orderly' home-price declines

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HONG KONG (Jan 14): Hong Kong’s finance chief welcomed the city’s decline in home prices since August and said that officials have no plans to relax housing market curbs.

“We are glad to see that the property market is correcting orderly,” Financial Secretary Paul Chan said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on the sidelines of the Asian Financial Forum on Monday. “There is no need for us to do anything to sustain the market.”

The finance chief’s comments were the latest case of officials pouring cold water on prospects for any loosening of curbs that include stamp duties and tightened loan-to-value ratios. Prices have fallen 9% from an August peak, trimming the cost of the world’s least affordable housing after an almost 15-year bull run.

A blog post by Chan eight days ago fueled speculation that the government would ease mortgage restrictions, prompting a rally by developers. But Chief Executive Carrie Lam later indicated there were no immediate plans to relax the loan-to-value ratio, the South China Morning Post reported.