Thursday, April 24, 2014   




Expat furious as home dreams receive blow

Mary Ann Benitez

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A British engineer says the new 15 percent stamp duty on property purchases is a terrible blow to his young family's dream of owning a flat in Hong Kong.

William Hopkin, 27, said he and his Japanese wife, Yuki, 28, have been saving to make a deposit on a flat since moving here in 2009.

But he said the new stamp duty - which applies to non-locals and local and foreign companies - has put a real damper on their plans.

"It will absolutely affect me because I am coming up to the time when I have reached my savings target and looking to buy a home for my family," said Hopkin, a civil engineer at a major contractor.

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"Then overnight, 15 percent was added to my property price."

He said now he needs to pay an additional HK$300,000 for a HK$2 million flat.

Hopkin said he was "hurt and angered" when he heard the announcement and has written an open letter to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah to tell them the measure is "poorly thought through."

He added: "Worse, my wife and I both feel that we are no longer welcome in the city we had chosen to call our home. Is this really the case? Are we really second-class citizens?"

Hopkin, who speaks Cantonese, said he has not received a reply.

His wife used to work as a speech therapist in Japan and as a Japanese teacher in Hong Kong before deciding to be a stay-at-home mom to care for their 10-month-old baby, Esther, who was born in Hong Kong.

Hopkin said it was already a "kick in the teeth" to know that Esther does not even have right of abode - unlike children of mainlanders with no ties to Hong Kong other than they were born here.

"Up to last week I believed I was from Hong Kong," Hopkin said yesterday. "Now I am afraid CY Leung is saying: `You are not from Hong Kong and you will not be. It cannot be."

He said he loves the city because it is "a great place to live in" and an exciting place for engineers.

" I am so happy to have my wife and child here. This is why I am so very upset by this measure," he said. "It will make my life very difficult as I try to plan for the future."

He said he agrees with the resale stamp duty to curb speculation, but does not think the buyers' stamp duty will be effective in the long term.


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