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The World's Freest Economy Is Also Its Least-Affordable Housing Market

Hong Kong is accustomed to receiving kudos from American conservatives. Year in and year out, the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal laud the bastion of capitalism on the South China coast as the world’s freest economy. Sure enough, Hong Kong has just won the prize again, with the city coming in No. 1 on the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom published by Heritage and the Journal. That makes it 20 years in a row for Hong Kong in the top spot.

Not everyone associated with Heritage is showing the same love to the former British colony. Hong Kong has the world’s most-unaffordable housing market (PDF), according to a newly released survey by Demographia, a consulting firm from Belleville, Ill., that describes itself as “‘pro-choice’ with respect to urban development.” Demographia is affiliated with Wendell Cox Consultancy, founded in 1985 by Wendell Cox, an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute and a visiting fellow at Heritage, the Washington think tank run by Jim DeMint, the former Republican senator whom Bloomberg Businessweek has called the Congressional Republicans’ Shadow Speaker.