Thursday, March 18, 2010

A sick joke for Hong Kong home-owners...

In my previous couple of posts about first-time home-buying, I stated my tips and advice with the caveat that I don't know much about the property market in Hong Kong, if at all.

Here in Ireland, the key thing that one would check in terms of the lease documents is the remaining lease period (unless yours is a free-hold property, but this is quite rare especially for apartment properties): you would stay away from anything that has a remaining lease term of less than 90 years, if you still wish your property to be re-sellable within your own life-time.

Over in Hong Kong, it seems that one not only needs to look at one's own individual lease documents, but one also needs to factor in something which is frankly unfathomable - to what extent the HK government might, in future, decide on giving you a compulsory purchase order to facilitate some fat-cat property developer.

Choice quotes from Alice's most recent article on this over on the Asian Sentinel (Please also spend time to read her informative article on this piece of unfair legislation in her earlier blog-post):

The government-property cartel coalition has bulldozed through an unjust piece of legislation lowering the forced sale threshold from 90 percent to 80 percent of units of an old building facing demolition and redevelopment...

A secondary school student with an inquisitive mind asked Carrie Lam, Secretary for Development, a hard-hitting question at a radio forum: is there any guarantee that there won’t be future demands from developers to further lower the threshold to 70 percent, 60 percent, 50 percent?

When property prices have breached the HK$10,000-a-square-foot mark and young people’s dream of owning a home are in danger of becoming a permanent dream, and you can still hear the developer titans say they are against reviving the Home Ownership Scheme, which the government stupidly put an end to in 2002 to prop up the property market and which might be the only way out for the home-starved low- to middle-income class, you know that the WEALTHY AND THE HAVES of this society have become stone-hearted and obdurately pitiless towards the HAVE-NOTS.

Thus, it seems, not only are the majority of Hong Kong citizens of the post-70's, 80's, and 90's generations resigned to the fact that, if they are lucky enough to be able to afford a mortgage, it would be for a property for a hugely-inflated price that allows the post-war baby-boomers to indulge shamelessly in their lavish lifestyles; but even more tragically, even when they manage to get on the property ladder and even when they manage to pay off the mortgage, there is no guarantee that the property that they have acquired through decades of blood, sweat and tears would indeed be their own asset to pass on to the next generation (which is totally unlike the situation in the UK - over in Britain, the Conservatives are able to harp on about property rights on behalf of property-owning middle-classes and cry foul over any increases on the inheritance tax; over in Hong Kong, there seems to be no such thing as middle-class Conservatives, only the super-rich have any say over government policy. It seems even the "haves" in Hong Kong are doing their damnedest to harm their own self-interest - what a perverse capitalist system HK is turning out to be when middle-class interests are being usurped by monopolistic corporate interests because the latter are the real master behind the puppet administration).

This gross infringement of individual property rights is a very sick joke indeed, how ironic that it would come into force on 1st April, 2010.

Further reading:
劉健威×歐陽應霽 惜食→地產商治港?(
Missed Opportunity (
[轉貼] 曹仁超被訪有關香港房地產 (

Further listening:

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At Fri Mar 19, 05:17:00 p.m. GMT, Blogger Alice Poon said...

Hi Snowdrops,

Thanks for the mention of my blogposts and the links.

If you are interested in knowing why Hong Kong's economy is in the hands of a few oligarchs, perhaps this latest review in Chinese of my book "Land and the Ruling Class in Hong Kong" may give you some idea: (I'm assuming you haven't read my book yet :))

At Sun Mar 21, 11:33:00 p.m. GMT, Blogger Snowdrops said...

Thanks so much Alice for your book recommendation. No I haven't read your book yet, but I remember that it was listed in your old blog as well and have always meant to get it. Thanks for the linked book review, I especially agree with this line:


Is your book available on the Amazon or other online outlet?

At Mon Mar 22, 04:58:00 a.m. GMT, Blogger Alice Poon said...

The book is available from Dymocks and Bookazine bookstores in Hong Kong.

According to blogger Mister Bijou, it is also available from Paddyfield, which is an online book retailer.

Hope the above helps.

At Fri Mar 26, 01:54:00 a.m. GMT, Blogger Chris said...

Thanks for the link, Snowdrop.

Like Alice, I have written a book about buying property in Hong Kong. It's available from and from Amazon.

At the beginning of May, my second book, which is about buying a home in Japan will be released. It's also available from and from Amazon.



At Sat Mar 27, 12:56:00 a.m. GMT, Blogger Snowdrops said...

Thanks Chris for your kind info about your book and indeed for sharing your thoughts on HK's property development on your blog :)


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