Young couples in Hong Kong may have to save for 14.4 years to afford the downpayment for their first home in the city, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Wednesday, citing a survey by the think tank Bauhinia Foundation Research Center.
Studying changes in the incomes of young couples and housing prices over the last 23 years, the study found that a couple took 8.8 years to save enough for the downpayment of a flat in 1991, compared with 14.4 years now.
Monthly mortgage payments now account for 40 percent of the household income, suggesting that property prices have surged beyond what families can afford.
In a separate survey commissioned by Citibank (Hong Kong) Ltd. and conducted by the University of Hong Kong, people in the 22-29 age bracket are found to be the most eager in acquiring their own property.
About 32 percent of the respondents believe that in 10 years, they can buy a unit of about 600 square feet that costs at least HK$4 million (US$516,000).
In its recommendations, Bauhinia urged the government to help boost young people’s career opportunities by canceling age limit and adding new industries to the apprenticeship program, which is currently restricted to be those in the 14-18 age bracket and 45 trades. It also called for a review of the recognition level for sub-degree educational programs.
The government should also formulate guidelines on crowdfunding for turning entrepreneurial ideas into reality and extend the grace period for the repayment of student loans.
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