Stratospheric property deals slap in the face for struggling HK youth

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 December, 2016, 12:16am
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 December, 2016, 8:31pm

It made me feel very sad to read that “soaring property prices have broken home ownership dreams among Hong Kong’s youth” (“Dream of owning a home is over for most young Hong Kong people”, November 15).

This was on the same page of the Post as an article stating that “a corporate buyer is to pay HK$90 million in stamp duty after buying a residential property for HK$302 million”.

We’re not talking about an office building or a block of flats, we are talking about one home.

What a slap in the face for our youth, who face having to work for 25 years to be able to buy their first property, and when that property is likely to be of 300 sq ft or less. How galling it must be for them to learn that the property in questions boasts a 546 sq ft courtyard and 322 sq ft of parking space.

To further put things in perspective, if the average flat price in Hong Kong is now around HK$4.5 million (which I think is probably actually on the very low side), some 20 families could be housed on just the stamp duty that’s being paid, and a further 67 households for the price of that one residential property.

That is a travesty when so many people cannot afford basic housing needs. No wonder there is growing political discontent in Hong Kong, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

In Hong Kong today, some 40 per cent of the population live in subsidised public housing, while 100,000 live in coffin cubicles, cage homes and rooftops, and more than 1,000 are homeless. We have the highest income gap of any developed economy in the world. The minimum wage, introduced in 2011, is HK$32.50 per hour compared to around HK$67 in the UK and HK$57 in the US.

There are about 650,000 working poor in the city, while 300,000 children do not get three meals a day and one in three seniors struggles to meet their basic nutritional needs.

To borrow a famous quote from Shakespeare: “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”

Eric Sampson, Central