The latest expansion of Zhuhai’s housing curbs may not significantly drive up capital in the Macau housing market despite the fact that it is now more difficult for local residents to purchase a housing unit there.
Earlier this month, Zhuhai imposed tighter restrictions stipulating that a residential unit can only be resold three years after the property certificate is obtained, while non-Zhuhai citizens are only allowed to make residential purchases after they have paid government taxes or contributed to the social security fund there for five years, up from the previous requirement of one year.
“Following the restrictions, I do believe it would be very difficult for Macau residents to buy a residential unit there as I don’t see many Macau residents could have contributed to the social security fund there for five years, except for those who work there,” the head of residential at Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) Macau, Jeff Wong Chi Wai, told Business Daily yesterday.
Adding that MSAR residents may still buy commercial units in the Mainland Chinese city, the realtor noted that capital in Zhuhai’s housing market is largely from other Chinese provinces rather than from the MSAR.
“As such I don’t see the latest restrictions will shift a large amount of capital back to Macau from Zhuhai, as Zhuhai’s housing market is more driven up by mainland buyers from other provinces,” Mr. Wong said.
He explained that many MSAR residents buy houses in Zhuhai as their “second-home,” which they will use for vacations and weekends, or for retirement.
Investors may also now see returns in the Zhuhai housing market as less attractive than in the MSAR, taking the mainland city’s taxation laws into account, he added.
Jennifer Un, senior regional director of Ricacorp Macau Properties Ltd, had a slightly different perspective, reckoning Zhuhai’s stricter housing curbs will more or less benefit the local home market.
“We have seen that the housing prices in Zhuhai have hit some RMB30,000 per square feet. For first-time buyers, they can buy a unit in Macau with similar prices. So of course they will choose Macau,” she said.
While the city’s gaming industry is on a path to recovery, posting year-on-year growth in revenues in the past eight months, both of the property agents believe housing prices in the city will stabilize this year without registering any notable adjustments.
“Compared to the lowest point, housing prices have rebounded by some 10 per cent,” Ms. Un said. “How much it will grow further this year…it will really depend on the macroeconomic factors and the supply of new units.”
Mr. Wong from JLL, meanwhile, notes the home market lacks an incentive to boost its prices at the moment.
“The market is recovering, but we don’t see there will be any significant increase in capital values this year as the city’s economic transformation needs more time,” he said.
But a more significant change in home prices may become evident next year, he added.
“Maybe in 2018,” he said. “After the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge… The project may help the city to transform its economy, such as attracting more MICE events, especially those that have never been held in Macau, to take place here,” he said.