Housing in Hong Kong
Question 2 (a)
Housing has been a big challenge to many people in society today. People are living under poor conditions while others have been evicted from their homes since they are unable to pay for the bills. In Hong Kong, governments prefer using most of their houses for commercial use to helping the citizens have a place to lay their heads. Hong Kong citizens live in overcrowded slums where they share rooms with extended families as they have no alternative.
Hong Kong is said to be one of the most developed countries in Hong Kong. However, there is a very adverse issue affecting the citizens of Hong Kong, the housing problems. It is said that the rich people are concentrated in one area where they live an expensive life while the poor are focusing on the other side, where they suffer and live in an unconducive environment. The government of Hong Kong has decided to use most of the buildings in the country for commercial purposes instead of renting their citizens at an affordable price (Aizenman et al., 2019). The rich live in expensive buildings with ample space for their children to play on while the poor are congested in their households. Children from low-income families lack playground space because of the way houses have piled up in their settlements.
Additionally, the environment in the crowded areas is not conducive for children and adults to study because there are no schools due to lack of space. The government of Hong Kong has failed to address these issues as it tends to concentrate on other parts of the country where the wealthy elites are located. Some rich people who are well-wishers feel pity for the poor and offer them food and clothing; others have opened programs whereby the children from low-income families can be taught how to read and write and other skills. The cost of living is exceptionally high, and this is what is contributing to poor housing as the citizens cannot afford better food leave alone better housing. The elderly, especially, somebody might think they have been abandoned, but this is not the case. Their children and grandchildren are working, but whatever income they get cannot sustain the whole family due to the increased cost of living. This is why most aged people are out on the streets receiving food and donations from well-wishers because even the government has failed to take care of them.
The houses in these shanties are in poor conditions as roofs are leaking, inadequate drainage systems, etc. This poses a significant challenge to the elderly and especially those with underlying health conditions, especially during the Coronavirus pandemic. First of all, their houses are overcrowded since the whole extended family lives there, which means that even a patient cannot self-quarantine themselves. Aizenman et al. (2019) state that the houses are too small yet expensive, and these families share. This is why you find that China was among the first countries with the highest number of victims who had contracted Coronavirus due to congestion and overcrowding. The streets are dirty, and this poses a health challenge to the people of Hong Kong while the government has forgotten their welfare. The government has increased the number of working years from 60-65, and this is mainly affecting the elderly who are living in the shanties as they will have to work despite their old age to fend for themselves. Despite their old age, they still have hopes of living in public houses.
The youths of Hong Kong are not happy with the arrangements at home as they tend to share bedrooms with their younger ones due to congestion. This is the reason why there have been decreased birth rates in Hong Kong because they don’t have an excellent place to raise their children at. Most youths in Hong Kong want to acquire studies then be able to help their parents. The literate people are likely to have good jobs with good pay compared to the manual jobs, which have less income.
When one rents, it means you can move freely without penalty when your lease expires. However, it means that you can be asked to evacuate when the landlord decides to sell the property or turn the apartment into something else; they can also increase the rent. There is a myth that when one is renting, they are wasting money, but everybody needs a place to live, and it will cost money one way or another. We all agree that renting is more expensive than owning a home, for example, in New York (Dickerson 2015). The home-related expenses are predictable when one rent compared to when one owns their own home. When one rents, they are at risk of unpredictable rent increment every time their lease expires, and it’s up for renewal compared to if you get a house with a fixed-rate mortgage, and the house’s monthly payments will never increase. When one rents, the landlord will take care of maintenance and repairs, but there may be delays while homeownership, you take care of your repair and maintenance bills.
Homeownership has its benefits like belonging to a community and stability and the pride that people have ownership, nevertheless owning a home would not be suitable for nomadic persons are real estate is an illiquid asset as one might be unable to sell it when they want due to declined market value of houses. The cost of homeownership is higher than that of renting. Home prices may go down, but while renting, there are no tax benefits, for instance, in Los Angeles. Homeownership has more responsibility, while renting has no wealth creation at all. When owning a home, one is comfortable, and it also promotes privacy as one can do whatever they want with their home, color whatever color they want, and so on compared to the rentals.
Aizenman, J., Jinjarak, Y., & Zheng, H. (2019). Housing bubbles, economic growth, and institutions. Open Economies Review, 30(4), 655-674.
Dickerson, A. M. (2015). Millennials, affordable housing, and the future of homeownership. J. Affordable Hous. & Cmty. Dev. L., 24, 435.
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