Eligible first-time home buyers can now pay 10 per cent down payment for properties under construction with values of up to HK$10 million ($1.3 million), Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation subsidiary said on Friday.
Previously, buyers of such properties valued at more than HK$6 million could only obtain 70 per cent loan-to-value ratio, resulting in higher down payment requirements.
The adjustment will help to improve sentiment in the first-hand property market, where developers have been under pressure to cut prices to increase sales. CK Asset Holdings, a leading developer owned by Li Ka-shing, last month priced its new project at a seven-year low.
While the move will hand more purchasing power to new home buyers, it will not boost the overall property market unless the government relaxes the stress test requirement, said Sammy Po, chief executive of the home division at Midland Realty.
Buyers must go through a stress test that ensures their income can afford rate rises if they take on mortgages.
“Simply relaxing mortgages on unfinished properties is not targeting the problem,” Mr Po said. He expects home values to drop 2 per cent to 3 per cent for the full year if the government does not roll out more measures.
Just two months earlier, the government loosened its mortgage rules for the first time since 2009, allowing buyers to purchase apartments with lower down payments.
Expensive interest rates have deterred buyers in one of the world’s most expensive property markets, bringing down home prices down 17 per cent from their peak in 2021.