Aug. 3, 2010 (Chinavestor) In news that may not be music to Beijing's ears, Hong Kong is at risk of seeing a real estate bubble if prices on the island keep soaring. At least that's the view of HSBC (NYSE:HBC), which says property values in Hong Kong are already quite high. Residential real estate prices in Hong Kong have popped 42% since the start of 2009.
That rapid appreciation has the government of Hong Kong concerned that property prices are unobtainable for most of the island's citizens. Prices may rise 10% in the second half of this year if interest rates remain at two-decade lows and the local economy keeps growing, Bloomberg News reported, citing Jones Long LaSalle (NYSE:JLL).
Home prices are up almost 11% this year. HSBC (NYSE:HBC), Hong Kong's biggest bank, has the largest share of new mortgages on the island. The bank is preparing to list its shares on the Shanghai Composite Index (SHA:000001) in the near future. The Hang Seng Property Index is up 11% in the past six months.
On the mainland, Beijing has been taking steps to rein in property prices, such as requiring banks to maintain higher capital reserve ratios and increasing downpayment requirements for borrowers.