Hong Kong has long attracted attention in the global property world due to  the volatility of its real estate prices. Now, however, it has shot into the  spotlight for another reason - property derivatives.
  On the 27th Feb ABN Amro bank and Sun Hung Kai Financial announced that  they had traded a property swap based on Hong Kong's residential market, marking  the first such transaction ever to be done in Asia.
  With the ink now dry on the Hong Kong deal, bankers are predicting that a  similar deal could take place in Australia in the next three months, followed by  another transaction in Singapore in the next six months, and transactions in  Japan and Korea towards the end of the year.
  That means that in a few months' time an investor may potentially be able  to "buy" an office in Sydney, "sell" a retail store in London and "buy" a  residential property in Hong Kong by placing just one phone call, bankers  say.
  If so, this will mark a striking turnround for a sector that some bankers  believe could soon be an exciting new frontier for financial innovation, not  just in Hong Kong but around the world.
  长期以来,香港一直因其房地产价格的波动性而吸引着全球地产界的目光。而如今,香港却由于另一个原因而举世瞩目--房地产衍生品。
  2月27日,荷兰银行(ABN Amro)和新鸿基金融(Sun Hung Kai  Financial)宣布,双方以香港住宅市场价格为基础,进行了一笔"房地产掉期"交易,这是亚洲首笔此类交易。
  随着香港此笔掉期交易的完成,银行业人士预测,未来3个月,澳大利亚可能会出现类似交易,而未来6个月同样的情况将出现在新加坡,今年年底前,日本和韩国也将出现类似的交易。
  银行业人士表示,这意味着几个月后,投资者可能只需拨打一个电话,就可以"买进"悉尼的一间办公室,"卖出"伦敦的一家零售商店,或是在香港"买进"一处住宅地产。
  果真如此,这将标志着房地产行业一个引人注目的转折点。一些银行业人士认为,该行业可能很快将成为一个令人兴奋的新金融创新领域,不仅是在香港,也是在全球。
 
  Until a couple of years ago, property derivatives existed only in theory.  But in recent months the sector has started to grow rapidly: in the UK, which  barely had a market two years ago, there have been more than 300 deals worth in  total close to £5bn, according to figures from Investment Property Databank, the  research firm. A number of transactions have been completed in the US and  continental Europe, and bankers expect this to grow.
  The inaugural transaction in Asia, at less than HK$100m ($13m), is small by  global standards. But it comes amid growing appetite among cash-rich investors  for new ways to invest in some of the world's fastest growing property sectors -  that can also be alternatives to property stocks or real estate investment  trusts, for example.
  "Property is one of the hottest games in town and the potential for growth  of property derivatives in Hong Kong is huge," says Philip Ljubic, a director of  property derivatives at ABN Amro, which completed on the 27th Feb's transaction  with Sun Hung Kai Financial.
  In the Hong Kong transaction, traded as a one-year "price return swap," ABN  Amro - the buyer of the derivative - gains exposure to the city's housing market  by receiving the annual change in the HKU-HRPI, an index measuring the price of  Hong Kong Island residential property. This index is one of the subsets of a  series developed by the University of Hong Kong partly for this specific  transaction.
  数年前,房地产衍生品还只是存在于理论上。但研究机构Investment Property  Databank公布的数据显示,最近几个月,房地产衍生品市场已开始迅速发展:在两年前市场刚刚形成的英国,迄今已达成逾300笔此类交易,价值近50亿英镑。美国和欧洲大陆也已达成了大量此类交易,银行业人士预计,此类交易数量将继续上升。
  亚洲第一笔掉期交易价值不到1亿港元(合1300万美元),以全球标准衡量规模较小。然而,此笔交易达成之际,正值现金充裕的投资者对于投资全球一些增长最快的房地产领域的新方式兴趣日增之时。例如,这些新方式可以替代房地产股票或房地产投资信托。
  荷兰银行房地产衍生品主管菲利普o柳比奇(Philip  Ljubic)表示:"房地产是香港最热门的游戏之一,香港房地产衍生品的增长潜力巨大。"荷兰银行与新鸿基金融完成了2月27日的亚洲首笔房地产掉期交易。
  香港这笔房地产掉期交易属于一年期"价格回报掉期"。荷兰银行--此款衍生品的买家--通过获得HKU-HRPI年度变动率,得以投资香港住宅市场。HKU-HRPI是衡量香港住宅房地产价格的指数。该指数是由香港大学(University  of Hong Kong)开发的一系列指数的分项指数,一定程度上特为此笔交易而开发。
 
  Sun Hung Kai Financial - the seller of the derivative - receives a  previously agreed basis point spread over HIBOR, the local risk-free lending  rate.
  People involved in the deal declined to reveal this spread.
  The All Hong Kong Residential Price Index, a weighted average of the three  sub indices including the HKU-HRPI, is offered at 650 basis points over HIBOR or  roughly 10.5 per cent.
  Property derivatives are popular because they, in effect, allow investors  to take a view or speculate on a particular property sector without actually  having to own the bricks and mortar.
  "Another big advantage is time," says Mr Ljubic. "A physical transaction  can take weeks while a property derivative, once liquidity is established, could  take minutes."
  Joseph Tong, chief executive officer for wealth management, capital markets  and brokerage at Sun Hung Kai Financial, says: "Hong Kong has a very active  property market and people get used to new financial instruments quickly. We  expect there is going to be a sizeable growth potential for this product."
  But there are challenges ahead. One of the reasons why the market has been  slow to take off in some countries is that underlying data needs to be of a  cast-iron calibre - as is the case in the UK.
  It took about nine months to build the Hong index series while it took  roughly 14 months to bring a Hong Kong property derivative transaction to  market.
  Stephen Moore, ead of property derivatives at GFI Colliers, the  inter-dealer broker for the Hong Kong transaction, says his firm is working with  the National University of Singapore to create residential indices for  Singapore's housing market, and this week, residential indices were launched for  Australia. Commercial indices for Australia are expected in the next six  weeks.
  He says: "The main issue with developing these products in the Asia-Pacific  region, is that there are very few countries that have an adequate amount of  transparency to develop credible and robust indices on which to trade...Without  [a proper index], however, you cannot build a derivatives market."
  新鸿基金融--此款衍生品的卖家--将根据之前协议,得到高于香港银行同业拆息(HIBOR,香港本地无风险贷款利率)协定基点的利差。
  参与此笔交易的人士拒绝透露这一利差的大小。
  全香港住宅价格指数(All Hong Kong Residential Price  Index)是包括HKU-HRPI在内的三个分项指数的加权平均数。该指数相对于香港银行同业拆息的利差为650个基点,约合10.5%。
  房地产衍生品受到欢迎的原因在于,实际上,它允许投资者在实际不拥有房地产的情况下,觊觎或投机某个房地产领域。
  "另外一个巨大优势是时间,"表示,"实物交易需耗费数周时间,而一旦流动性形成,房地产衍生品交易可能仅需要几分钟时间。"
  新鸿基金融财富管理、资本市场和经纪业务行政总裁Joseph  Tong表示:"香港房地产市场非常活跃,人们能够迅速适应新的金融工具。我们预计,这种产品将有着巨大的增长潜力。"
  然而,未来也存在一些挑战。房地产衍生品市场之所以在一些国家起步缓慢,原因之一在于,基础数据必须十分稳健--就像英国那样。
  开发香港住宅价格系列指数耗时约9个月,而香港房地产衍生品交易入市则耗费了约14个月的时间。
  GFI Colliers房地产衍生品主管斯蒂芬o摩尔(Stephen Moore)表示,他的公司正与新加坡国立大学(National  University of Singapore)合作,为新加坡住宅市场开发住宅指数。本周,澳大利亚推出了住宅指数。澳大利亚商业指数预计将在未来六周推出。GFI  Colliers是香港此笔掉期交易的交易商之间的经纪人(IDB)。
  他表示:"在亚太地区开发此类产品的主要问题在于,具备开发可靠且稳健指数所需的高透明度的国家为数极少……然而,如果没有(适当的指数),就不可能建立衍生品市场。"