Date
19 October 2017
Unaffordable private housing is prompting some Hong Kong youth to make career sacrifices in order to be able to secure government-subsidized apartments. Photo: HKEJ
Unaffordable private housing is prompting some Hong Kong youth to make career sacrifices in order to be able to secure government-subsidized apartments. Photo: HKEJ

For some post-90s youth, public housing is like Mark-Six

How does the post-90s generation view public housing? Do the youth really covet the apartments that are often drab but come at a subsidized price?

The answer may surprise some, but according to an online forum quite a few from the so-called Generation Z in Hong Kong see public housing as a life goal, with some even comparing it to winning a Mark-Six lottery.

An 18-year-old male who identified himself as Gary even shared his tips online as to how one can secure one of those flats in three years’ time. And what’s his chief advice? Well, it’s this: The youth should work as freelancers, rather than take up permanent full-time jobs, so that they will not cross the HK$14,000 monthly income limit and lose their eligibility for public housing.

Acquiring a public housing flat is like advancing to a higher stage in video games, Gary said. “You will be free as a bird in looking for any job you want to after you move in a flat,” he noted.

“Income assessment will only happen every two years after you reside in the flat for ten years,” he said, adding that there won’t be any immediate need to worry about not meeting the relevant income ceilings.

Netizens’ responses have been mixed. Some criticized him for having no aspirations as a teenager and for seeking to abuse public housing resources, while others supported him.

Wong Kwan, chairman of the Federation of Public Housing Estates, said the number of public housing units assigned for non-old age single applicants is only around 2,000 a year. He suspects many family applications are actually made up of siblings, instead of parents with children.

Joe Leung, a professor at the Department of Social Work and Social Administration at the University of Hong Kong, said it is sad to see young people willing to sacrifice the golden period of their careers in order to acquire a public housing flat. This sort of thing should not be encouraged as it will hurt Hong Kong’s productivity he said, according to Sky Post.

Responding to the debate, the Housing Authority said it had been conducting random inspections on some 8,000 applicants annually over the last three years. As for siblings applying as a family unit, the authority said if one of the siblings gets married during the course of application, his or her name would be removed from the list of applicants.

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