Hong Kong has retained its title as the world’s most expensive urban centre to buy a home, while neighbouring Shenzhen, the tech of capital of China, has joined the ranks of the world’s five most expensive cities for the first time, according to a survey of 35 cities around the world by real estate consultant CBRE.
The rankings were released after February data showed Shenzhen’s economy surpassed Hong Kong’s for the first time in 2018, growing by 7.6 per cent to 2.42 trillion yuan (US$361.24 billion), or HK$2.87 trillion based on the 2018 official exchange rate from Hong Kong’s Census and Statistics Department. Economic growth in Hong Kong for the year rose by just 3 per cent to HK$2.85 trillion.The average cost of owning a home in Hong Kong rose 5.5 per cent last year to HK$9.4 million (US$1.2 million), which translates to US$2,091 per square foot for a typical abode measuring 574 square feet (53 square metres), or about 40 per cent more than second-placed city Singapore, CBRE said.
Meanwhile, Shenzhen located across the Hong Kong border in southern China and home to some of the country’s biggest technology companies Huawei, ZTE and Tencent, ranked No 5 globally even as house prices contracted 0.1 per cent last year to an average US$680,283, or US$726 per square foot.
“Upon becoming a Special Economic Zone in 1980, the growth of Shenzhen has been unprecedented, with its population increasing to more than 12 million. It is now one of the world’s wealthiest cities,” CBRE said, adding that the city produced 90 per cent of the world’s electronic goods.
The survey findings underscore the challenge for Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, as affordable housing is a mainstay of her administration’s policies. She has proposed a vacancy tax to force developers to add more housing to the city’s supply, and enlarge the proportion of subsidised homes to help lower-income households.