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‧ Rents in some areas close to universities have dropped by about a third, by 3.4 per cent since January overall 

 Landlords are offering generous concessions as they shift focus to local tenants

The Hong Kong residential market has lost one of its most steady sources of tenants – mainland Chinese students – this summer, after most of the city’s universities moved to online teaching for the coming semester amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Rents in some areas close to universities have dropped by about a third year on year. In Sha Tin, which usually caters to students of Chinese University, Baptist University and City University, mainland Chinese renters accounted for 20 per cent to 30 per cent of deals, said Derek Chan, head of research at Ricacorp Properties.

“In previous years, mainland students started looking for flats as early as May or June, because demand would be really high. But they are not coming this year,” he said.

Overall rents in Hong Kong have fallen by 3.4 per cent since the coronavirus first hit the market in January, according to data by local brokerage Midland Realty, despite the average rent rising slightly over June and July. The average rent per square foot rose 0.8 per cent in July to HK$35.27 (US$4.6).

This modest recovery too might have been snapped by the third wave in Hong Kong, property agents said, a situation that will be exacerbated by the arrival of fewer students from mainland China. “We have lost 70 per cent of students tenants [in Tai Wai],” said Jason Kwok, a senior branch manager at Ricacorp. “The impact is huge.”

(The source: South China Morning Post)