Only landlords and investors gain from rising property prices

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 September, 2015, 4:07pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 September, 2015, 4:07pm

It's sad to read reports of higher suicide rates in Hong Kong ("Suicides on rise among young Hongkongers", September 10). This is in part due to unaffordable property prices and lack of social mobility.

Increased rents have presumably led to fees in Hong Kong's private and direct subsidy schools increasing, some by as much as 20 per cent, which imposes a heavier financial burden on parents.

Higher rents must also lead to doctors raising their consultation fees and trying to squeeze in more patients.

The city's birth rate continues to fall. Again, unaffordable property prices are leading to many couples delaying weddings and their decision to start a family.

In an interview, the newly-crowned Miss Hong Kong wondered if she would be able to afford to own a home in Hong Kong. This, despite the fact that she is a law graduate from Cambridge University and you would have thought she should not have to worry about such things.

Opportunistic politicians and pro-business groups (linked to the property sector) resort to scare tactics. They refer to falling tourist numbers hitting the retail sector. The fact is that the main beneficiaries of luxury retail outlets are Hong Kong's rich landlords.

Many of our young people, especially youths and the working class, feel pessimistic about their prospects for upward social mobility. It is a shame that the main measurement of such upward mobility is owning a home.

The city's property tycoons and property firms continue to report handsome profits. They lobby for less government interference and fewer regulations and hide behind the façade of a "free market".

Officials such as our financial secretary talk tough about the control measures that could be implemented to curb prices. Oddly, the focus now is more about increasing tourist numbers in an attempt to boost Hong Kong's economy.

An increase in property prices does not create more property. It does not bring economic gains or lead to an increase in flat sizes or in the number of units on the market.

The only people who make monetary gains are landlords and investors and many of these investors are not even from Hong Kong. The general community does not gain from this method of wealth creation.

A society with skyrocketing property prices is a bad economic model. It does not lead to the majority of Hongkongers being better off.

Bernard E. S. Lee, Tsuen Wan