The total number of residential property sales in Macao dropped 18.1 per cent year-on-year, which shows a “significant” contraction, Jones Lang LaSalle Limited (JLL Macau) Managing Director Gregory Ku Ka Ho said on Wednesday.
Ku made the remarks during a press conference for the agency’s Macao Year-End Property Review 2020 in the JLL Macau office at the Finance and IT Centre of Macao.
Ku said that according to the Statistics and Census Service (DSEC), as of early December last month 6,184 residential property sales transactions were registered last year, adding that presale transactions totalled 886, accounting for about 14 per cent of the total residential sales volume. He added that he had expected the total number of residential sales transactions to be about 6,400 last year.
Ku noted that two-bedroom units in 20–30-year-old buildings were highly sought-after, as young, first-time home buyers are eligible to apply for mortgages of up to 80 per cent to buy a residential flat price at no more than MOP 8 million. However, Ku pointed out that the prices of luxury residential properties fell more significantly as a villa located near Penha Hill was sold at 40 per cent lower than its asking price.
Ku said that as the uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic gradually disappears, it would take time for the market to recover. Ku added that he expected the residential property sales volume in 2021 to remain stable.
Supermarket sales up
JLL Macau Head of Retail Oliver Tong Wai Lok noted that DSEC statistics show that total retail sales fell by 52.2 per cent year-on-year in 2020. Tong said that due to the significant decrease in visitor arrivals, the total expenditure by tourists contracted dramatically and made up only 11.7 per cent of the total retail sales.
He pointed out that tourism-dependent categories all experienced a drop in their sales value by over 50 per cent. However, he added that the sales volume of supermarkets rose by 9.4 per cent year-on-year, supported by the increasing domestic demand.
Tong said that despite the “lack of” 30 million visitor arrivals in 2020, the spending by local residents still managed to make up 50 per cent of the total retail sales value that Macao could achieve before the Covid-19 pandemic. He also said that retailers would certainly pay more attention to local demand in the future, adding that in the meantime some retailers have expanded their business to online platforms to attract more customer interest and enhance turnover.
According to official immigration statistics released by the Public Security Police (PSP) earlier this week, Macao recorded 5.9 million visitor arrivals in 2020, a year-on-year decline of 85 percent. In 2019, Macao recorded 39.4 million visitor arrivals, according to the Statistics and Census Bureau (DSEC).
Jobless rate to stay high
JLL Macau Director of Valuation Advisory Services Mark Wong Choi Si said that Covid-19 impacted all property sectors as they adjusted their price levels. He said that if the pandemic can be brought under control globally in 2021 and the low interest rate environment persists, Macao’s property market would hopefully see a recovery this year. Wong said that unfortunately the jobless rate would continue to cast a shadow on the city’s outlook in the short term as a number of livelihood issues might occur when the government’s anti-pandemic relief measure and subsidies are no longer available.
According to DSEC data, local residents’ jobless rate stood at 4.0 per cent in the September-November 2020 employment survey period.
(The Macau Post Daily/Macao News)
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