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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Asian property market surges 59pc in 2010

HONG KONG: A massive US$63 billion (US41 = RM3.04) was spent on property transactions in Asia last year, a 59 per cent rise from 2009, as the region's economies led the recovery from the global financial crisis, a report said.

Surging prices in Hong Kong and Tokyo made up almost half the total amount spent, according to the study, which comes as several Asian countries grow concerned that large inflows of foreign cash are causing asset bubbles.

The figures, from real estate consultancy CB Richard Ellis, are a huge increase from the US$39.2 billion spent in 2009, when the globe's worst economic crisis since the Great Depression sent property prices sliding.

"The Asian real estate investment market enjoyed an encouraging end to the year and prices for prime investment property have now recovered substantially," said Nick Axford, the consultancy's head of research for the Asia-Pacific area.

"The market outlook remains generally optimistic," he added.

Hong Kong accounted for US$15.2 billion of the total, while Japan's market saw US$14.2 billion in transactions.

Prices in Hong Kong have jumped 50 per cent in the past two years due to low interest rates, a strong economy and an influx of mainland buyers who make up a big proportion of purchases, especially of luxury homes.

Worries about a property bubble have prompted Hong Kong's government to announce a series of measures to cool the market, including boosting land supply and new stamp duties to keep out so-called hot money.

Asian economies have outperformed their Western counterparts in recovering from the global economic slump that started in late 2008, with cash-rich foreign investors and low interest rates stoking demand for Asian properties.


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