Hong Kong Intelligence Report #52 Corporatist Choruses : 'Housing Shortage' 'Deregulation'
1. On the contrary to official narrative broadly propagated by real-estate oligarchs (monopoly capitalists of this extremely neoliberal city), the total housing stock in Hong Kong is sufficient for all domestic households in Hong Kong. The total housing stock in Hong Kong does not constitute the so-called 'shortage of supply' that the crony coalition of government and business has been feeding day and night, i.e. according to the latest figures from Census and Statistics Department, the total permanent housing stock in Hong Kong is 2.941 million (end of June 2021) for 2.6952 million households in Hong Kong (September 2021). In addition, according to the latest data from Transport and Housing Bureau, the total permanent housing stock in Hong Kong is 2.913 million (end of March 2020) for 2.645 million households in Hong Kong (March 2020). (1)(2)(3)
In general, the relationship between the total housing stock and the total number of households in entire Hong Kong clearly demonstrates that there is no such thing as an 'overdemand' or 'shortage' of housing in Hong Kong.
If the 'shortage' is really true as corporatist agitators 'STARs' are propagating everyday, the total housing stock in Hong Kong must be less than the total number of households in Hong Kong.
In fact, the indelible truth is systematically and one-sidedly enshrouded by corporatist media machines in order to push their own greedy agendas with 'popular support' from crassly misled sheeple (their victims).
2. Latest number of public housing (rental housing) applicants (demand): 254,500 (September 2021) (4)
Total number of public housing (rental housing) in Hong Kong: 842,200 (June 2021) (5)
Total number of public housing households in Hong Kong: 786,288 (March 2021) (6)
Total number of all kinds of public housing units supplied by the Government (including public rental housing): 1,299,948 (March 2021) (7)
The tension between the gradual piling up of demand (applications) for public housing and the systematically suppressed annual production of public housing units is by no means the origin of the 4 highs (high land prices, high property prices, high rent, high commodity prices). Although it includes the army of speculators who speculate even in public housing, public housing applicants are basically the victims (results) of the 4 highs policy in the private property market, the underprivileged, they are not the culprits of the 4 highs (high land prices, high property prices, high rent, high commodity prices) in Hong Kong. The real estate oligarchs' crony alliance endlessly produces the cause and effect relations, chains of misery. It seems that the ruling 'elites' only cope with result 1, result 2 and result 3, but never dare to touch the cause.
The demand for public housing has several key points below:
a) The demand for public housing and the 4 highs are not essentially related to each other and are not causally related because the demand for public housing has been de-linked from the demand in the private housing market. In other words, the demand for public housing is a change after the demand for private housing has been squeezed out and abandoned because the purchasing power of public housing market does not logically match that of the 4 highs.
b) The constant relationship between the piling up of demand for public housing year after year and the very low rent levels affordable to the grassroots, which are highly controlled by the government, it shows that there is no causal relationship between the supply of public housing per se and the 4 highs (i.e., the piling up of demand for public housing is not a cause, but a consequence). The government will continue to keep rents extremely low and affordable. In other words, even if the supply of public housing increases (and it does increase every year), it will not solve the problem of the 4 highs. (8)
For example, the affordability of public housing rents at the grassroots level.
Although there is a demand for public housing of 254,500 units (September 2021), the corresponding rent level is maintained at a very low level of around HKD 2,300 (ranged from HKD 1,320 - 3,410). This shows that the demand for public housing itself is not the reason for the 4 highs. Instead, the demand for public housing is deliberately piled up to serve a political function/role for the local oligarchy. (9)
c) The political propaganda of the so called 'property hegemony' that 'supply does not meet demand', 'shortage of housing' and call for 'increase in supply' is masking the real cause of the 4 highs such as monopoly, hoarding of land and housing units, and aggressive speculation. The highly suppressed supply of public housing units over the years and the piled up demand for public housing (the result of the 4 highs) are all bound up in the political demands of the real estate hegemony, victims automatically changed into the human hostages, the political bargaining chips. Here, one of the specific forms of speculation is inappropriate housing rental business. Those who are unable to buy or rent private housing in the first place are pushed into the public housing market and have to get in line for six years or more, during which time they are forced to rent various types of inappropriate housing run by speculators. In other words,
As long as Xia Baolong is asking for specific types of unsuitable housing to be banned, it does not affect the real estate oligarchy at all, but only the speculators who operate specific types of unsuitable housing units for rental. The essence of Xia Baolong's theory of expulsion of specific types of unsuitable housing by 2049 is an indirect promise that the real estate hegemony will remain unchanged for 52 years (1997-2049).
d) The types of unsuitable accommodation in Hong Kong are not only about the two types mentioned by Xia Baolong on July 16, 2021 (sub-divided units and cage homes), but also bedspace, cubicles or rooftop houses or nano flats or