ASIA – Property prices in the Asia-pacific region have reached “risky” levels, especially in Sydney, Hong Kong and Shanghai, according to S&P Global Ratings.

“Asset prices, especially property prices, today are as stretched as they were before the Asian crisis,” Elena Okorochenko, head of Asia-Pacific ratings said in Singapore on Wednesday (13 Sep).

Together with higher household debt, prices in Sydney, Hong Kong and Shanghai are a risk “worth monitoring”, said Elena.

Sydney home prices have surged 75 per cent in the last five years, ranking the city as the world’s second most-expensive housing market behind Hong Kong, where prices climbed 21 per cent in the year through June.

Confidence in Australian real estate has also dropped to its weakest level in 40 years, with the nation’s record household debt-load troubling policy-makers, and increasingly, the general public.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary Paul Chan warned potential buyers to be careful buying property in Hong Kong.

In Shanghai, housing prices jumped as much as 33 per cent in 2016, according to China’s statistics bureau.

In contrast, Singapore’s housing market has been weakening for the past few years, but has recently gathered steam as buyers pick up attractive bargains, especially in the new condos segment.