Have you noticed an increasing variety of snacks from around the world in the office pantry? This may be the result of colleagues spending more on overseas travel during their holidays. According to a local study, Hongkongers are spending money on travelling overseas more than ever.
According to the The Hong Kong quality of life index complied by the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Centre of Quality of Life, the overseas travel index of the city saw a 7.6% increase compared to last year.
The index also indicated the quality of life index of Hong Kong had increased for the first time since 2010; the index for 2016 was 105.39 – 4.07 points higher than the number for 2015.
The centre has been compiling the index annually since 2003, looking at 23 indicators from five categories – health, society, culture and leisure, economy, and environment. During August 2016, the centre interviewed more than 1,000 adults by phone.
In 2016, 19 out of the 23 indicators improved, but does this really mean life for Hongkongers is getting better?
Not necessarily, according to the researchers. To begin with the report indicated the city’s housing affordability ratio has improved compared to a year ago, but does that mean housing has actually become affordable?
Here is a look at the numbers. In 2016, a median income-earning household needed to save up for 14.55 years without spending a dollar of their income to buy a 300 square feet flat in the urban area, slightly down from the 15.68 years in 2015.
Although the number has come down a little, researchers think the situation is still far from ideal. Professor Terence Chong Tai Leung of the Department of Economics told the South China Morning Post an ideal ratio would be anything below eight years, and one above 10 years would be “very difficult” for aspiring homeowners.
So with the task of owning a home in Hong Kong still a mission impossible, Hongkongers are deciding to pamper themselves a little bit with overseas travel.
Professor Wong Hung, who heads the university’s Centre for Quality of Life suggested people might be travelling more because they are not able to afford a home anyway with their salaries. He thinks people who are discouraged by the sky-rocketing prices choose to travel overseas to stay away from the negativity.
Other indicators of the index which show improvement include overall crime rate, real wage index, and air index. On the hand, the freedom of speech index and press criticism index have gone down.
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