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Hong Kong housing

Keep Hong Kong housing for Hong Kong people, and prices will fall

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 July, 2018, 6:18pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 July, 2018, 6:18pm

Land is the most precious resource in Hong Kong, but more than 70 per cent of its area is undeveloped. The government also has HK$1.8 trillion in reserves. Despite this, our younger generation cannot envisage a future in which they can own a home, and tens of thousands of our citizens have to live in subdivided units, with the entire population of 7.4 million crowded into less than 10 per cent of available land.

It is time to think about how to release all these resources to serve the community, and stop working behind the scenes for the benefit of our property tycoons.

I bet the Singapore government would not act like this — buying time through engaging in endless surveys — as the Lion City has one focus, that is, the overall benefit of citizens and the competitiveness of Singapore as an international city.

It is also so easy to uphold the advice of President Xi Jinping, that homes are for living in, not for speculation.

Xi Jinping says houses are ‘for living in, not for speculation’. But is Hong Kong listening?

I have two suggestions. One, bar mainland citizens or any other non-residents from investing in Hong Kong’s residential property. Some Western governments, as well as authorities in mainland China, have this locals-only rule. Is Hong Kong still allowing non-residents to buy because of lobbying from the property tycoons?

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Two, introduce a capital gains tax for all investment properties of up to, say, 50 per cent of the sale profits. I bet that will make property prices come down to a very affordable level for our younger generation, and we would not be having a property bubble on hand so large that it could kill our economy when it bursts or kill our competitiveness.

We face serious challenges to remain a liveable city, and we owe our younger generations a reasonable future. We don’t owe the super-rich property tycoons anything.

S. Yam, Mid-Levels West