With the hallucinogens kicking in, the South China Morning Post celebrates one of Hong Kong’s greatest – and surely insufficiently recognized – achievements of 2018. We refer, of course, to the city’s dazzling success in expertly managing its property bubble so it deflated calmly back to the comfortable, panic-over, where-it-should-be zone, and few people noticed, let alone got hurt. Phew! That could have been nasty, but everything’s fine now.
The paper rightly honours the heroes of this story. First, there’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam, whose dazzling insight, daring, skill and leadership enabled her to increase housing supply with breathtaking precision. Then there’s the HK Monetary Authority, which valiantly raised interest rates and pressured banks into tightening loans. Thanks to all these people’s tireless efforts, the property market did not ‘spiral into a horror show’.
Experts are swooning at this deliverance from, as one bank guy says, falling property prices that would cause lower consumption, higher unemployment, reduced property-sector investment, less wealth being sucked into the government’s slush-fund reserves black cesspit hell-hole, cheaper housing, etc.
The timing was superb. And yes – luck probably played a part. But it was mostly our leaders’ brilliant decision-making and cool determination to unswervingly control the situation that enabled us to escape what could have been a nightmare. Little wonder that Hong Kong may now, as the SCMP says, ‘become known as the model for how to slowly deflate a bubble and avert a painful burst’.