The pandemic of COVID-19 has dealt a serious blow to the economy of Hong Kong and its property transactions. An unstable market situation and the decline in the number of transactions have also led to fluctuation of property prices. Prospective buyers should note that banks may tighten their mortgage approval criteria and they may not be able to obtain sufficient mortgage loans to complete their purchase due to a shrink in their property valuation.
The outbreak of COVID-19 in the community has brought adverse impact to the Hong Kong society and economy in multiple aspects. The Hong Kong property market and the estate agency industry are inevitably affected.
First of all, may I wish our readers all the best for the Year of the Rat. Stepping into the New Year, it is time for us to review the past and plan for the future. Here, I would like to share some of our findings with you.
In October, the Chief Executive announced revisions of the Mortgage Insurance Programme of HKMC Insurance Limited in the 2019 Policy Address. This led to a wide discussion in the community and rekindled some members of the public’s hope to own a property as mortgage financing is one of the most important concerns for many prospective purchasers.
To fully utilise every inch of space in a property, some people may carry out alteration and addition (“A&A”) works to their properties. However, purchasing or renting properties with A&A works may have potential risks or legal liabilities. It may also affect the property’s valuation or a purchaser’s application for mortgage loans.
In a recent media report, an estate agent took the cash deposit from the property purchaser for himself and did not pass the money to the vendor. The incident has tarnished the reputation of the estate agency trade and many trade representatives also shared the same view. Here I would like to remind property purchasers, particularly the inexperienced ones, to be vigilant when paying their deposits and avoid paying them in cash directly to any parties including estate agents or even the vendors. Instead, the deposits should be paid to a firm of solicitors as stakeholder until completion of the transaction.
What comes first to your mind when you hear the term “5A”? Excellent results in a public examination? Top-graded beef you crave for? Or anything related to quality? Earlier, you may have seen some outdoor advertisements showing a cartoon estate agent on buses, bus shelters, trams and even online platforms. This cartoon is in fact our “spokesperson” for a “5A” estate agent.
locations are different from Hong Kong, consumers must be aware of the possible risks involved in purchasing properties outside Hong Kong (especially uncompleted ones) in order to protect themselves from loss. In this regard, the Estate Agents Authority (“EAA”) will organise a public seminar in Cantonese titled “Know the risk when purchasing properties situated outside Hong Kong” on 30 March, to introduce to consumers the important points-to-note when purchasing non-local properties. All are welcome to attend and please register at this website: https://eaa.ievent.hk
In my previous article, I mentioned a new Practice Circular No. 18-02(CR) issued by the Estate Agents Authority (“EAA”), which provides more comprehensive guidelines for our licensees when issuing property advertisements.
Recently there has been increasing public concern that some of the property advertisements issued by estate agents may contain false or misleading information. In this regard, estate agents must comply with the relevant laws and guidelines issued by the Estate Agents Authority (“EAA”) when they issue advertisements, and the EAA will conduct regular checks to ensure estate agents’ compliance. However, there is sometimes no straight forward answer as to whether a particular contained in a property advertisement is “true or false”.