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From bankers to cage-dwellers, HK feels property price squeeze

Reuters
From bankers to cage-dwellers, HK feels property price squeeze - HK - Hong Kong - property prices - banks


HONG KONG (Reuters) - In a cramped space on the fifth floor of an old industrial building in Hong Kong, Huang Shaochang and his wife live in some of the priciest real estate per square foot in the world - a 35 sq ft room with a bunk bed and small TV.



Sky-high property prices forced them into these squalid conditions and prompted the Hong Kong government last month to impose measures to rein in residential home prices, which jumped 20 percent in the first nine months of this year even as the economy contracted 0.1 percent in the second quarter.

In October, Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying singled out the re-emergence of cage homes - wire mesh hutches stacked on top of each other - and cubicle apartments such as Huang's as issues that highlighted the gravity of poverty that existed alongside one of Asia's glittering financial centres.

More than 1.1 million people, or 17 percent of Hong Kong's population, lived below the poverty line in 2011, earning less than HK$3,500 ($450) per month, according to the Hong Kong Council of Social Services. It defined poverty as earning less than half of the average monthly income.


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