15_MM7972_111207_34612Hong Kong has long managed to represent itself as the face of Asia and as a city that never seems to rest. Attracting expatriates from around the globe, the territory is one of the top financial centers in the world today.

However, according to a survey conducted at five of the local universities, more than 50 percent of over 200 respondents have considered the possibility of leaving Hong Kong. It seems that the city is gradually losing its appeal to young people, with the newer generations of Hong Kongers becoming disillusioned with the city for reasons more than one.

The Reality

Hong Kong has consistently been one of the most expensive places in the world to own a property. Coupled with the fact that this is a place where competition is overwhelming to contend for jobs and such, it is hard for an average young individual fresh to the workforce to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Literally thousands of young couples are pigeonholed in overpriced accommodations. This has inadvertently resulted in conflicts between modern economics and traditional Chinese values.

To put that further in context, it was found that a significant percentage of the overcrowded population have to tolerate inadequate housing conditions that are confined to an unhealthy space. This is a surprisingly disturbing characteristic as one of Asia’s wealthiest cities.

Housing Costs

The only real asset that Hong Kong has is its limited supply of land, and therefore it is inevitable that prices are kept premium to avoid flooding of the market.

The price per square meter ranges from between HK$77,000 to over HK$130,000 depending on the location. That means a humble apartment in a less demanding area of 80 square meters averaged a whooping HK$5 million.

And that is just being optimistic!

Salary & Expenses

The average income of an entry-level professional averaged approximately at HK$200,000 to HK$400,000 per annum. Analysts have projected that the increasing salary trend in 2013 should continue this year, although the real increase after factoring inflation remains fairly minimal.

For the most part, the cost of living in Hong Kong is comparatively higher than many other countries. This would naturally compromise on the ability to save and accumulate money. However, it is not without relief, as the territory boasts one of the lowest tax rates in the world.

Doing the Math

Specifically, let us explore whether it is financially viable for a young professional to purchase his house before the age of 30.

A 27-year-old, single young professional who enjoy relative success in his career may be able to wield an income of HK$400,000 per annum.

Annual Income HK$400,000
Basic Allowance HK$120,000
Chargeable Income HK$280,000
Taxes HK$56,000

 

That would leave us with a net income of roughly HK$340,000, or approximately HK$28,000 monthly.

Assuming his monthly expenses is as below:

Rent HK$10,000
Food HK$5,000
Utilities HK$1,700
Transportation HK$500
Others HK$4,000
Total  Expenses HK$21,200

 

After deducting the expenses, it just leaves room for a remaining allowance of about HK$7000 per month in savings.

The initial capital output for an apartment would include a 10% deposit and the applicable fees, charges and stamp duty:

Apartment Cost HK$5,000,000
10% Down Payment HK$500,000
Fees, Charges & Stamp Duty HK$75,000
Total Initial Capital Output HK$575,000

 

In summary, that would require nearly 7 years to save with the assumption that he has no other financial obligations. And even being so, that will literally wipe out his entire savings.

 

 

Conclusion

The situation involving costly housing in Hong Kong is unlikely to change in the near future because incomes are having a hard time keeping up with the increase of housing prices.

Considering that most home buyers are required to fork out a significant percentage in down payments, and add the fact that most banks enforce a cap on borrowing amounts based on salaries, the odds of purchasing a house under the age of 30 without assistance is pretty slim.

There are, however, several practices that one can utilize to close the gap:

  • Getting an endowment plan
  • Investing in short-term options
  • Cutting back on general expenses
  • Staying with parents instead of renting
  • Compromising on either the size or location of the potential house for a reduced price

It is not to say that it is impossible or that one should give up on buying a home, but rather coming to terms that perhaps it would be more logical to do so at a later when there is a deeper level of financial stability.