Macau residential sales contracted significantly in 2020

The total number of property sales dropped 18.1 percent year-on-year 

Two-bedroom units in 20 to 30-year-old buildings were highly requested by young, first-time buyers. MosayMay/Shutterstock

According to Gregory Ku Ka Ho, managing director at JLL Macau, the total number of residential property sales in Macau plunged by 18.1 percent year-on-year, indicating a “significant” contraction, reported Macao News 

As of December 2020, 6,184 residential property sales transactions were registered, along with 886 presale transactions. Ku added that he had anticipated the total number of residential sales transactions to be around 6,400 in 2020. 

Two-bedroom units in 20 to 30-year-old buildings were highly requested by young, first-time buyers, as they were eligible to apply for mortgages of up to 80 percent to purchase a unit priced at no more than MOP8 million (USD1 million).  

However, luxury residential properties experienced a significant drop in prices, as a villa situated near Penha Hill was sold at 40 percent lower than its listed price.  

The market would take time to recover, and Ku expects sales in 2021 to remain stable.  

In terms of the retail sector, retail sales dropped by 52.2 percent year-on-year in 2020, according to Oliver Tong Wai Lok, Head of Retail at JLL Macau. As a result of pandemic-induced travel restrictions, total tourist expenditure shrunk notably, contributing only 11.7 percent of total retail sales.  

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Despite the drop in tourism sales, expenditure by locals still managed to maintain the sector at sales levels before the pandemic. Tong said that retailers would pay more attention to local demand in the future, expanding into online businesses to lure customer interest and increase turnover. 

Mark Wong Choi Si, director of valuation advisory services at JLL Macau, mentioned that Macau’s property market could see recovery in 2021 if the pandemic is globally contained, and the low-interest-rate environment continues.  

Unfortunately, Macau’s unemployment rate is expected to stay high and may cloud over the city’s outlook, as many livelihood issues might occur once the government’s anti-pandemic relief measures and subsidies are absent.