Hong Kong is the most expensive housing market in the world. It has been ranked as the least affordable housing market on Earth for eight years in a row, and the price per square foot seems to be only going up. The inflated prices are forcing Hongkongers to squeeze into unconventionally small spaces that can affect their quality of life.
Land scarcity is usually the main culprit behind extremely high real estate markets in the world’s most expensive housing markets. Silicon Valley, New York City, and other urban areas that are magnets for a young, well-educated workforce have very high costs of living. The rising property values and rents make living in a city on the rise difficult for many of the residents that aren’t a part of the economic rising tide (gentrification is just particular example).
Hong Kong is a very peculiar example were land scarcity is only a part of the situation. Bad land use (3.7% zoned for high density housing) policy and land management are bigger culprits. The government essentially owns all the land in Hong Kong and leases it to developers, so developers are incentivized to drive up that rates, given that the government doesn’t want to tax the corporations for the land that they occupy.
Season 2 of Vox borders has 5 episodes about Hong Kong:
- How British rule shaped Hong Kong
- China is erasing its border with Hong Kong
- Feng shui shaped Hong Kong’s skyline
- Decline of Hong Kong’s neon glow
- Hong Kong’s cage homes (profiled above)