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HK retains 'most expensive' ranking

(Xinhua)

08:35, September 11, 2012

HONG Kong has retained its title as the world's most expensive city for expat businesspeople to live in, coming ahead of second-placed London, as one of China's financial hubs continues to weather the global financial crisis more successfully than many of its counterparts in the West.

Residential prices for executive housing rose 7.4 percent in the first half of 2012, the UK property brokerage Savills said in research released yesterday.

Prices in Moscow rose by 5.5 percent, Sydney 3.7 percent and London 2.8 percent.

The brokerage tracks property prices for a standard group of seven people, to compare the cost of relocating an executive team to a city. By contrast, property costs are considerably cheaper in Paris, whose battered banks led to a 3.4 percent fall in rates for executive housing.

Hong Kong has both the highest prices and the fastest pace of growth. Despite slowing economic growth on China's mainland, domestic demand within Hong Kong itself is strong, although executive rents have been softening.

Housing and office costs for a core financial services business team of seven employees including a chief executive and administrative staff, total 660,000 pounds (US$1.1 million) per year in Hong Kong and 550,000 pounds in London.

Property prices in Hong Kong were a driving force behind the high turnout at the city's elections on Sunday, where more than 50 percent of eligible voters went to the polls.

The city's new leader, Leung Chun-ying, has introduced policies such as "Hong Kong land for Hong Kong people," plots that are restricted for sale only to Hong Kong permanent residents.

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