Expats in Hong Kong find it cost prohibitive to buy property there unless they are permanent residents. Why? Come on! Do I even have to type it? T-A-X-E-S:
Hong Kong residents Chris Lane and his wife, Karen are planning to have a second child – but find themselves hampered by the city’s housing policy.
In October last year, the government slapped a 15% sales tax on property purchases by people who aren’t permanent residents in the city. Lane, a Californian, and Karen, with roots in both Hong Kong and Singapore, spent the last few years in Japan, selling real estate there before returning to Hong Kong, where it requires seven consecutive years of residency to qualify as a permanent rather than temporary resident.
So they found themselves out of luck. The couple owns a 1,100 square foot apartment in Quarry Bay, a middle-class neighborhood on the east side of Hong Kong island, but the new tax makes it practically impossible for them to upgrade.
The article points out a host of other restrictions in place, and who is able to navigate them and who has difficulty doing so. It’s an interesting article from the perspective of anyone interested in the impact of regulation on markets. Somehow you just know that expats aren’t an important consideration in these types of conditions.