Many Hongkongers cannot afford to buy a flat. According to the Legislative Council Commission, the prices of small- and medium-sized flats have almost tripled in the past 10 years.
The cost of a home has gone up by 223 per cent in that time, but the median monthly household income has only gone up by 43 per cent. This has led to a massive decrease in the ability of average Hongkongers to own their own home.
Chinese culture traditionally emphasises the need for a person to “put down roots”. Most Hongkongers will do anything to own their own flat. Things are so expensive now, though, that people often work past the statutory age of retirement just to be able to afford to do so. It’s not unusual, for example, to see people still paying off their mortgage past the age of 60.
People in other parts of the world might see our housing crisis as crazy. The cost of owning a flat here is so huge, it forces people to give up their dreams.
I want to remind people that their dreams should come first. We only live once. If we spend too much of our lives trying to buy a flat, we might end up with lots of regrets when we are older. The cost of not following your dreams might be spending the rest of your life wishing you had. Forget what we should do – let’s do what we dream of doing instead.
Unicef HK’s “Make A Video” competition gives young people a chance to express themselves. The project is co-organised by the Hong Kong Arts Centre’s IFVA, with support from Hang Seng Bank and Young Post. Check out the videos here. Email your feedback here.