• Wed
  • Oct 29, 2014
  • Updated: 6:50pm
NewsHong Kong

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

So when Tung Chee-Hwa proposed building 85,000 flats PER YEAR, why didn't the public support him?
Should Tung and his 85,000 flats be resurrected Hong Kong would still run against him and his proposal. The condition hasn’t changed – those who undermined him and the flats are still here and they are the landlords 50 % of the population whose priority was to protect property value. LKS did run to Beijing and took the lead to oust Tung by bad mouthing Tung in Beijing. It was a publicly announced trip.
This time LKS has barked twice in public media in the name of interviews. The real message for the real listeners has fallen on deaf ears in the central government. CY Leung is still hanging in as the Hong Kong Chief Executive abate still in the tangled housing shortage engineered by the previous administration to the delight of the property developers in meeting the demand by the mainlanders for luxury flats instead.
The landlords and the property developers in Hong Kong unseated Tung with their extreme greed by extreme act in Beijing.
aplucky1, you are confused. Property in Hong Kong is being purchased almost solely by Hong Kong residents. Read into recent articles and you will see Hong Kong residents are heavily cash rich and have allot of money to burn.
House prices are increasing because of a low tax rate in Hong Kong. If the government followed western countries and taxed at 40% an added 15% sales taxes. Then people would have less money and house prices would fall.
These articles always miss the point that 50% of people in HK live in government housing (going to increase to 60%). Nowhere else in a country as well off as HK does this occur.
you are wrong and you have zero proof
you know that nose pickers to the north use hk residents as proxies and most of these greedy dogs bought an ID card, thus DRAMATICALLY SKEWING the statistics
you are obviously involved in this seedy industry to defend these filthy thieves
If use 14 years income to purchase the most minuscule flat. Hong Kong property's price of per square feet is the most expensive on the world. And that just have around 500 square feet. You can buy a bigger and more comfortable than its on foreign countries. So many HK residents is feeling very up sad and unhelpful heard this news.
But we live in Hong Kong. And most of resident are employee level. We only can follow the rules to play this game in Hong Kong. We haven't voice, only be commanded. So there are a word to describe us - "House slavery". A life is for a property. A decade saving is for a downpayment. Three decade of life time paid the installment.
Why Hong Kong existing this **** and unique social phenomenon? Why Singapore and other international cities haven't this homogeneous social phenomenon?
tung chee hwa attempted to replicate the SINGAPORE MODEL, until the the local property criminals went to beijing to complain to their daddy and get him booted out
I fear to say TCH will be the last man ever to defend hkg in our lifetimes
Collusion = CORRUPTION
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.
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.
'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.'
With hot topics like the CE electoral reforms, what most people do not realise is that it is not just about political criticism, but a matter of law. The Government's proposed nominating committee is not a fulfilment of the Basic Law as alleged, but a violation of the Basic Law read as a whole which requires a democratic procedure giving every citizen the equal right to vote and stand for election under Article 26, and also in contravention of Hong Kong's obligations under the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights. In contrast, civic nomination is what the Basic Law contemplates. Until everyone realises this, the debate will lead us nowhere.
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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