Date
23 January 2017
Hong Kong's homes are the least affordable in the world. No wonder Hongkongers are unhappier than their counterparts in Osaka and Seoul. Photo: Bloomberg
Hong Kong's homes are the least affordable in the world. No wonder Hongkongers are unhappier than their counterparts in Osaka and Seoul. Photo: Bloomberg

Hong Kong housing still world’s most unaffordable

It now takes 19 years for a household with Hong Kong’s median income (half of households have a higher income, half lower) to buy the median home (half are priced higher, half lower) in the city.

That’s provided it spends nothing and pays no taxes during that period.

This dismal statistic is why Hong Kong continues to hold the title of the world’s most unaffordable housing market for the sixth straight year in the latest survey by urban planning consultancy Demographia.

Hong Kong’s “median multiple”, a measure widely used in evaluating urban markets, was the highest in the 12-year history of the annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, which covered 87 leading global cities.

It rose to 19 from 17 the previous year, Sky Post reported Tuesday, citing the results of the survey, which was based on data from the third quarter of 2015.

The distant runners-up were Sydney, with a median multiple of 12.2, and Vancouver, with 10.8.

Demographia classifies any region with a median multiple of 5.1 or more as “severely unaffordable.”

The survey covered cities in Australia, Britain, Canada, China, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States.

However, home prices in Hong Kong have fallen from HK$10,970 (US$1,407) per square foot at their peak in August last year to an average of HK$10,267 per sq ft, figures compiled by Midland Realty show.

The property agency expects prices of second-hand homes to fall a further 5 percent in the first quarter and unit prices to fall below HK$10,000 per sq ft.

Meanwhile, a survey conducted by the City University of Hong Kong earlier this month showed Hongkongers are less happy than people living in Osaka and Seoul, judging from their levels of satisfaction with the quality of life in six areas: politics, economy, environment, public health, leisure and entertainment, and housing.

The Happiness Index for Hong Kong was only 6.83 on a scale from 1 to 10, compared with 7.41 for Osaka and 7.01 for Seoul.

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