HONG KONG (Reuters) – When Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam officially announced a new “Starter Homes” scheme on Wednesday to help middle-class families own their first home, 27-year-old bank employee Jeffrey Chan was left unmoved.
The combined income of Chan and his fiancee is about HK$7,000 ($897.01) short of what they need to qualify to buy a subsidized apartment under the new scheme. They will have to continue renting for now.
Research - Note - Morgan - Stanley - Households
In a research note, Morgan Stanley estimates only about 170,000 households can benefit from the plan which lets in those whose monthly income fall within a narrow band of HK$26,000 to HK$34,000 per person or HK$52,000 to $68,000 per household.
“It’s still very difficult to buy a flat. It made no difference after she spoke,” Chan, a middle office associate at an American investment bank, told Reuters. “Property is ridiculously expensive now.”
Chan - Break
Chan hadn’t expected a lucky break, so he wasn’t disappointed when he didn’t get one.
Like most people in Hong Kong, owning his own home is a life goal for Chan, and with a monthly salary of about HK$40,000, he already earns more than 85 percent of Hong Kong’s workforce where the median income is HK$17,000.
Chan - Reach - Home - Prices - High
But buying a flat is out of Chan’s reach as home prices surged to a historic high in August, with apartments across the territory now costing an average of roughly HK$12,000 per square foot (HK$130,000 per square meter), according to property agency Midland Realty.
A recent UBS report reckoned Hong Kong was the world’s most expensive city for apartments where the average living space...
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