• Wed
  • Nov 19, 2014
  • Updated: 8:58pm
NewsHong Kong
SOCIETY

14 years to buy a flat: Quality of life in Hong Kong going down, shows survey

Why city’s quality of life is getting worse, starting with inability of the average household to afford to buy even the most modest of homes

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 August, 2014, 4:13am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 August, 2014, 4:29pm
 

Hongkongers' ability to afford a home has hit a new low amid growing dissatisfaction over the government's performance and pessimism over press freedom.

This is indicated by the Chinese University's latest quality of life index, released yesterday.

The index lists the housing affordability ratio for last year at minus 4.91, down from minus 3.49 the year before and the lowest in the 12 years since the index was first compiled.

"When we conducted our first survey in 2002, a typical household would need only five years' saving to buy a 400 sq ft flat in Kowloon," Terence Chong Tai-leung, associate professor in the university's department of economics, said. "Now they would have to stop eating and live [on the streets] for 14 years to save enough money for a flat."

The housing affordability ratio first plunged into negative territory in 2010, at minus 0.85.

Public perception of press freedom also reached its lowest point last year with a score of 4.69, the highest single drop from the median index rate of 4.85 since 2002.

The overall score for the index, based on three sub-indices covering society, economy and environment, was 102.57, a slight drop from 102.90. It was based on a telephone survey of 1,004 people last August.

Nine per cent said they felt restrained when discussing political affairs with friends, a jump from 6 per cent in the previous year. This was accompanied by 16 per cent saying they would feel worried about criticising the government out of fear of retaliatory action against them, up from 11 per cent the year before.

It was the fourth consecutive decline in the perception of press freedom. Media scholars at the university attributed it to a spate of events before the survey.

These included Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's letter to the chief editor of the Hong Kong Economic Journal demanding the retraction of an article.

They also included a search of the Oriental Press Group headquarters' server room in Tai Po by Fire Services Department officers after an unverified email complaint about the building's fire-safety systems.

"People's perception of press freedom is expected to reach another new low, what with the brutal assault on former Ming Pao chief editor Kevin Lau Chun-to," said Professor Paul Lee Siu-nam, of the university's School of Journalism and Communication. Lau returned to work this month, almost six months after the triad-style chopping attack.

Despite this, a content analysis of four sections of six major newspapers, including Ming Pao and the Hong Kong Economic Journal, showed that press criticism of the government remained strong at 4.55, up from 4.23 in the previous year.

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This article is now closed to comments

aplucky1
oh just keep letting illegal begotten money from the mainland keep flooding in here so the criminals upstairs can launder their money
this pleases the li ka s h i t s of the world just fine
this can be stopped IN FIVE MINUTES, confine purchases of property to hk residents only, like many other countries do very successfully thank you very much
53af638f-6a84-44b2-821e-4c4e0a320968
Those with property are singing all the way to the bank while those without are going to be permanent renters recreating the feudal system of the past.
@madams
Wrong -- hoarding of apartments by HK people for investment is a much bigger source. HKMA mortgage arm tracks this data, have a look. Equally as large but harder to track is the propensity of people (also HKers) to never leave subsidized housing -- even when they can afford to leave. I personally know of some ppl living in subsidized housing, who inherited flat from parents and grandparents, while they own a flat that they rent out in Olympian City. Mainlanders cause us a lot of grief, but housing is a self-inflicted wound.
johnyuan
Hong Kong has all the statistics on who – locals, mainlanders, foreigners and corporations buying up flats. There shouldn’t be any guessing work except the numbers are too inconvenient to be available to the public. The public are trouble makers in disrupting the deep set collusion culture between the government and the property developers. One good practice by the colonial government is that it kept record.
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Without access to the statistics, one just has to make an intelligent guess.
.
The public’s claim that there are residents at public housing living there for generations even not qualified for having exceeded income limit, one can be certain such foul play would become a necessarily now.
.
The recent news about private residential estates in reaching 30 years old by law must go through renovation. The owners are going through hell with even threat of life for questioning rigged bids for renovation that could cost as much as a down payment for a flat. Yes it will be wise to stay put in public housing where upgrade is in the hand of HA.
mcheung
".....people (also HKers) to never leave subsidized housing -- even when they can afford to leave." Very True Indeed !! There is no incentive (penalty) in the system for them to leave and continue living there while their income exceed the threshold. Furthermore, these people are just so selfish that they won't even allow construction of subsidized housing in their existing estate despite the availability of land to do so.
looksawesome
The reason why the property prices are so high is because 1/3 of all properties owned in Hong Kong are from the mainland Chinese..
looksawesome
I am correct, read this - www.scmp.com/article/1453222/liquidity-crunch-forces-mainlanders-cash-out-hong-kong-luxury-homes
"Property agents said mainlanders own close to a third of the existing homes that are now for sale in Hong Kong"
caractacus
Collusion = CORRUPTION
johnyuan
Collusion is an art form of corruption in practice. The practice needs not even spoken words. It only requires tacit understanding and a delayed gratification when an official retires. The ICAC becomes useless with no case to investigate for prosecution.
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Our ICAC has been disarmed by collusion and corruption through collusion is in wholesale magnitude nowadays.
.
Working in government is no longer for job security. It is a golden opportunity to become a multimillionaire when retire.
robkemp
There are many problems and most of them boil down to the peg. 1) Flat owners won't sell as the HK$/US$ is weak so selling and buying or investing overseas makes no sense. 2) Interest rates are too low so the buyers stamp duty, double stamp duty and special stamp duty imposed to combat this have made the bid-offer spread between what buyers are willing to pay, and sellers are willing to sell at, too large. The taxes have also taken the liquidity out of the market so no one lnows the price. Also, no one is trading up. 3) Many people living in public housing are abusing the system 4) salaries never rise because the government keeps subsidising everything. If the government revalued the HK$ v the US$ it might help a little bit, as invesemt overseas may be more attractive.

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