Hong Kong Negative Equity Mortgages Jump 15 Times as Prices Drop

The number of Hong Kong homeowners with apartments worth less than their mortgages surged 15 times in the first quarter, according to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.

The number of negative-equity mortgages rose to 1,432, with a total value of HK$4.9 billion ($634 million), for the three months ended March, from 95 such home loans worth HK$418 million in the previous quarter, the city’s de facto central bank said on its website Friday.

Property prices in Hong Kong, which reached a record last year, have been sliding and sales tumbled to a 25-year low in February amid economic uncertainty. Home prices in the city slumped 13 percent from September to March, according to data compiled by Centaline Property Agency Ltd.

The government is determined to tackle the housing problem and maintain a healthy development of the market, the city’s Rating and Valuation Department said in a report on Friday, while maintaining that it has no intention to withdraw demand-side property curbs.

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