Hong Kong private home prices in January slipped to the lowest since October 2016, hurt by weak market sentiment, high interest rates and homebuyers waiting to see if property stamp duties will be reduced this week.

Home prices in one of the world's most expensive property markets dropped 1.6% last month from the previous month, the ninth monthly fall in a row, official data showed on Tuesday, following a revised 1.5% decline in December.

House prices have lost 20% since the 2021 peak, and some analysts forecast another fall of up to 10% this year.

The market is expecting the government to further relax the property stamp duties in the financial hub's 2024/25 budget due to be announced on Wednesday, in an effort to boost market sentiment.

"Even though the Policy Address (in October) has eased some stamp duties but the strength was not enough; the market clearly requires a 'full elimination' (of additional stamp duties) to improve purchase confidence," said Martin Wong, Greater China head of research and consultancy at Knight Frank.

Wong expected prices to stabilize in the second half after falling 3-5% in the first half. (Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)