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Hong Kong real estate faces uphill battle against capital flight

Controversial security bill threatens to further erase demand for property

Office space in Hong Kong's Central financial district, shown here, touched a 12-year high in terms of vacancy rates in May.   © Reuters

GUANGZHOU/HONG KONG -- What was once the world's most expensive real estate market in Hong Kong has taken a beating since last year, and the recently passed national security bill threatens to trigger a mass exodus of capital.

At Canary Wharf, London's secondary financial district, the potential purchase of Morgan Stanley's European headquarters there became the predominant topic in June. Link Real Estate Investment Trust, based in Hong Kong, is said to be in talks to buy the property for around 400 million euros ($455 million).

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