Land Use Regulation Blamed for High Hong Kong House Prices

The Wall Street Journal  reports that growing concern about Hong Kong's high house prices has led the special administrative region's Chief Executive Donald Tsang to promise an overhaul of housing and land use policies in the fall.     

Chou Hong-Wing, a real estate professor at Hong Kong University told The Wall Street Journal  that "Hong Kong isn't short of land." Chief Executive Tsang indicated agreement, saying that the only way to solve the problem in the long run is tackling "market demand and land supply."

A broad array of economic research has documented the higher house prices that occur where there land supply is overly restricted. In a survey of seven nations, Hong Kong was rated as the most unaffordable market in the 7th Annual Demographia Housing Affordability Survey in January, with a Median Multiple of 11.4 (median house price divided by median household income). Sydney and Vancouver, both with stringent land rationing (smart growth) programs ranked second and third, at 9.6 and 9.5 respectively.