Property prices and rentals in Hong Kong are plunging across the board as the year draws to a close - and the retreat is expected to continue in the new year, experts say.

But though there is consensus that the global financial crisis will ensure a continued decline in prices and rents in 2009, analysts are less certain how long the retreat will last and how low prices may go before they hit bottom.

'An analyst makes predictions based on previous history. But we have not had such a crisis in the past 100 years,' said Simon Lo Wing-fai, director of Colliers' research and advisory division.

Given the difficulty of making reliable forecasts in the present volatile climate the best bet from analysts is that the downturn in the property market will last more than a year.

South China Morning Post