Singapore tops Japan as the best Asia’s city for living

The annual survey by Mercer, used by multinational companies to design expat packages, ranked Hong Kong 71 out of 231 cities for quality of living – dropping one spot from last year’s placing.

Hong Kong’s housing market has been picking up since the 2008 financial crisis. Private housing prices surged 195 percent between late 2008 and the end of January this year, translating into an annual increase of 14.3 percent according to the Hong Kong government statics.

However, “small flats” which have a saleable area (SA) below 400 square feet have posted a price gain of 227 percent in the eight-year period, more than 30 percentage points above the overall market rally. By contrast, flats with a SA over 1,600 square feet only rose 95.9 percent, lagging the broad market.

Although the government has unveiled eight rounds of counter-cyclical measures to curb home prices since 2009, small flats have constantly outperformed the market since government tightening measures have distorted market demand.

Expatriates in Hong Kong feels the pressure of high rents not only on their flats, but also their beloved places for hanging out are disappearing due to this; traffic jam has been getting worse on the weekend; social and political uncertainty is looming the city. In spite of Hong Kong is relatively stable society, Hong Kong risks losing out on top talent if the problems continues to decline.

Lacks of sustainable development in Hong Kong's public policy reflects on decline of quality-of-living ranking

Lacks of sustainable development in Hong Kong’s public policy reflects on decline of quality-of-living ranking

Home prices impact SAR ranking

Mar 15, 2017

Hong Kong ranked 71, out of 231 cities, in the overall quality of living due to its high home prices and political and social uncertainties, according to a survey conducted by consulting firm Mercer.

Vienna leads for the eighth year, with most of the top 10 being European cities: Zurich is in second place, Munich is fourth, and Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Copenhagen and Basel are ranked from sixth to tenth.

Singapore tops the ranking in Asia, followed by five Japanese cities – Tokyo, Kobe, Yokohama, Osaka and Nagoya.

“Economic instability, social unrest and growing political upheaval all add to the complex challenge multinational companies face when analyzing quality of living for their expatriate workforce,” said Ilya Bonic, senior partner and president of Mercer’s career business.

Mercer also separates the city infrastructure this year, in order to “assesses each city’s supply of electricity, drinking water, telephone and mall services, and public transportation as well as traffic congestion and the range of international flights available from local airports,” says Mercer.

Singapore also tops the city infrastructure ranking, while Frankfurt and Munich share second place, Copenhagen is fourth and Dusseldorf fifth. Hong Kong and London both ranked sixth.

“A city’s infrastructure, or rather the lack thereof, can considerably affect the quality of living that expatriates and their families experience on a daily basis,” said Slagin Parakatil, principal at Mercer.

“Access to a variety of transport options, being connected locally and internationally, and access to electricity and drinkable water are among the essential needs of expatriates arriving in a new location on assignment,” he said.

“A well-developed infrastructure can also be a key competitive advantage for cities and municipalities trying to attract multinational companies, talent, and foreign investments,” he added.

Source: The Standard

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