Real estate agency calls on next government to rethink land supply

Jacky Shek Po Tak, director of Centaline (Macau)

The real estate sector hopes that the new government will increase the land supply to the private real estate market in response to local residents’ high demand for houses, Jacky Shek Po Tak, director of Centaline (Macau) Property Agency Limited, said yesterday.

On the sidelines of yesterday’s press conference regarding Macau and Hengqin’s real estate situation in the first half of 2019, Shek told the media about Centaline’s expectations for the next government, adding that they were representative of the real estate sector.

“Macau residents hope the next government can solve the housing problem,” said Shek. “In Macau, the SAR government has been making an effort to improve the housing issue. Besides the supply of houses, we hope that the new government can make more land available in the private sector.”

“Currently, in Hong Kong, some ongoing social issues are affecting Hong Kong’s housing prices. Macau’s housing condition is a lot better than Hong Kong’s,” Shek commented.

Shek explained that there is a large gap between Macau’s housing supply and demand, with insufficient supply.

Speaking from a real estate agent’s perspective, Shek remarked that the government has been constraining housing demand, which in turn makes life difficult for real estate agents.

“Agencies’ business is really difficult because there are many regulations and taxes [on housing], which leads to a big drop in the number of transactions,” said Shek. “Many agents are suffering from difficult operations. We hope that there can be new policies to change the current situation.”

“The demand for houses is really strong. In the past, the Macau government slowed down the demand by [adopting new] policies, but the policies cannot act as long-term measures,” said Shek.

In total, approximately 160 shop real estate transactions were estimated to have occurred in Macau in the first half of 2019 and 71 office unit transactions were estimated for the same period, according to Centaline (Macau).

During the first quarter, the number of transactions of residential units dropped by about two-thirds. Shek predicted a total of 4,000 transactions would occur in the first half of 2019.

Regarding Hengqin, the most popular area for property sales is the district’s integrated service zone, from which 784 property transactions were registered, representing a 39% increase when compared with the same period in 2018.

Macau residents make up 27% of Hengqin property buyers and 14% are Hong Kong residents.

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