From Today’s Cantonese Press

“I can see your home from here!”

What happens to a blog when the author is on holidays? Clearly – not much. I was away in Cambodia and Vietnam for two weeks. Apologies for the unexplained absence.

Today this island nation is still in shock due to the doubling of stamp duty on housing sales. With a frothy housing market the emergency cooling measures were intended to slow down price increases. What they’ve done is thrown locals into an uproar over a cost increase in real estate. Where will the next bubble form?

Half of local residents to be exempt from higher stamp duty

Regarding the higher stamp duty that the government announced on Friday, Financial Secretary John Tsang wrote on his blog yesterday that the government would closely watch turnover and make adjustments if necessary. He said that the that higher duty would not apply to first-time home buyers and those selling homes and buying new ones within a short period of time. According to Tsang, 50 percent of local residents would not be affected the higher stamp duty. Meanwhile, a member of the Long Term Housing Strategy Steering Committee has suggested that second-time home buyers be declined mortgages if the higher stamp duty is ineffective. Lam Tai-fai, a LegCo representative of industry, criticized the measure for depriving SMEs of an important investment channel and Federation of Hong Kong Industries Deputy Chairman Stanley Lau said that the measure will impact businesses.


Apex Horizon buyers alert the police

It has emerged that several buyers of hotel rooms in Cheung Kong’s Apex Horizon asked the police to help them extend the transaction period prior to signing their final contracts, claiming that Cheung Kong had not adequately explained the risks that they were incurring. The buyers also claimed that Cheung Kong’s lawyer had asked them to sign an agreement that would absolve the company from responsibility before agreeing to assist with the transaction.


Several people injured at the Standard Chartered Marathon

Thirty-seven people were sent to the hospital having sustained injuries at the Standard Chartered Marathon yesterday, some of whom were trampled. Two of the runners were in critical condition. Baptist University Associate Professor of Physical Education Hung-tak Louie suspected that due to the cooler weather, runners had not warmed up enough and were not paying attention to risks.


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