Asian real estate shares plummet, steep fall for Buffett's BYD Co.

In Hong Kong Wednesday, the Hang Seng index lost 0.3%, ending the day at 22,840. In China, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.6% to close at 3,303, while in Japan, the Nikkei Index fell 0.6% to 9,677.

In Hong Kong, property companies led the decline, as fears that a property bubble pumped up by excessive speculation on the part of mainland Chinese buyers, may be looming. According to the Economist, prices are now just 13% below the astronomical levels they reached in 2008, just before the financial crisis.
As prices have escalated, the number of buyers paying cash has also increased, as have the mainland customers seeking Hong Kong mortgages. According to data from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the Economist also points out that as the money pumped into Hong Kong property has increased, the amount of money borrowed for mortgages has gone down.

Today, Hong Kong-listed Hang Lung Properties (HNLGY) plummeted 3%, New World Development (NDVLY) dropped 1.9% and Sun Hung Kai (SUHJY) fell 0.8%. Henderson Land Development (HLDVF), which claims to have sold the most expensive home in the world by square foot, lost 0.4%. Recently listed Evergrande Real Estate specializing in luxury living, soared 34% on its debut at the beginning of the month, lost 2.2% today.

Also in Hong Kong, electric car and battery maker BYD Co. (BYDDF) plummeted 5.9 percent after an analyst advised selling the stock, noting that it will take years for electric cars to become popular, reports Bloomberg. BYD, which stands for "build your dreams," currently sells a plug-in hybrid car, and has yet to produce an all-electric car.

The stock has increase five-fold since Warren Buffett bought a 10% stake in the company, catapulting majority shareholder Wang Chanfu to the number one spot on Forbes China Rich List with an estimated wealth of $5.1 billion. Two other BYD shareholders have also become billionaires.

In China, heavy snowfalls sent share prices in energy producers higher. Shanghai Electric Power surged 6.7% while China Coal Energy (CCOZF) climbed 2.1% and coal producer China Shenhua Energy (CUAEF) rose 1.5%.

Chinese real estate stocks followed their Hong Kong counterparts, driven down on the added concern that the rapidly developing Shenzhen area plans to institute a property tax -- a new concept in the region. Shenzhen based Gemdale fell 1.7% and Poly Real Estate which develops properties all over the nation, lost 1.3%.

In Japan, developers also slumped, with Tokyo Tatemono (TYTMF) nose diving 17% and Tokyu Land plunging 11%. Losses were also incurred by Mitsubishi Estate Co, which tumbled 4.5% and Mitsui Fudosan, which lost 3.8 percent. So, for those of us who've been regretting passing on that real estate deal, now may be the time to gloat.
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