Hong Kong Real Estate Requires 40% Down

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Admittedly not an expert on Hong Kong real estate and having no idea how other forms of "stimulus" factor into buying property in this part of Asia, the simple disparity between down payment amounts between here and there, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, seems like it's worth pointing out.

Concerns about a growing bubble in Hong Kong's high-end property market pushed central bankers here to increase the required down payment on luxury homes to 40%, from the current 30%.

The new measure, which goes into effect immediately, applies to properties valued at HK$20 million (US$2.6 million) or more, part of an attempt to tamp down an overheated sector that has alarmed regulators and set off a wave of populist anger.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the city's de facto central bank and main banking regulator, said that luxury-home prices already had exceeded Hong Kong's historical peak in prices, in 1997.

While property prices in much of the rest of the world continue to languish, prices in traditionally volatile Hong Kong have been on a tear this year, thanks in large part to low interest rates and a wave of liquidity from mainland China, where Beijing last year unleashed a four trillion-yuan (US$585.6 billion) stimulus.

Since they don't seem to be having the same types of problems at the middle or low end, clearly, a lot of that newly created credit on the mainland is finding its way into the hands of people who probably aren't hurting for work.

Nonetheless, the difference between 40 percent down and the effective "no money down" in the U.S. (after combining the tax rebate with FHA or VA financing) is quite startling...

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