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Hong Kong Won’t Loosen Curbs on Homes Even as Prices Fall

Hong Kong will not loosen its property-market policy curbs even as housing prices and transactions decline, Financial Secretary John Tsang said.

“Currently, our measures, which aim to keep the home market development stable and healthy, are effective,” Tsang told reporters in Hong Kong today. “We will continue the existing measures.”

The city’s government is following China’s lead in trying to rein in housing prices in Hong Kong, which had risen to a 14-year high by the middle of last year. Premier Wen Jiabao said this week that his government will maintain curbs on the property market to bring values to a reasonable level.

In Hong Kong, rising borrowing costs, extra transaction taxes and higher down-payment requirements imposed by the government have damped demand.

The number of home sales in Hong Kong slumped 56 percent in January from a year earlier to 3,507, the lowest level since 2008, Land Registry figures showed yesterday. Home prices slid 6 percent from their peak in June, according to Centaline Property Agency, the city’s biggest closely held real-estate broker in the city.

Tsang also warned of the effects in Hong Kong of the U.S. pledge to maintain low interest rates. Hong Kong’s rates track the U.S.’s because of a currency peg.

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