Long regarded and much envied as a golden privilege only offered to senior expat banking and finance executives, the massive housing allowances granted as a part of top-flight relocation packages are being slashed to sensible levels or, worse still, eliminated altogether. Luxury living on Hong’s exclusive Peak is being downsized to less prestigious locations and the luxury housing market is suffering as a result.
One of the Asian powerhouse’s boutique real estate agencies is seeing little or no interest in their designer dream homes complete with views to die for. MD Maureen Mills, of Executive Homes Hong Kong Ltd points out that clients on company leases who were formerly happy to spend HK$150,000 are now left with measly HK$80 – HK$100,000 cash allowances.
According to another agency, last year just 7 per cent of their Hong Kong clients were allocated monthly budgets of over HK$100,000, compared with 31 per cent four years ago. Nowadays, half of their clients have to make do with a monthly stipend of HK$30,000,just enough for 550 square feet in Central district. In addition, the number of finance and banking clients arriving with upscale corporate relocation packages has slumped by 50 per cent.