HONG KONG MONOPOLY… with Current prices

Monopoly: a timeless classic. Despite its reputation (and hard evidence) to ruin friendships, it remains one of my favourite board game. 2015 is a landmark year for Monopoly: not only does it mark the 80th anniversary of the game’s commercial debut by Parker Brother, it is also the Golden anniversary of the first 1965 Hong Kong edition under the title “財源廣進”。

In the decades since, the Hong Kong property market changed beyond recognition and the city is now home to some of the most expensive real-estate in the world. All prices in Monopoly pales in comparison: I am sure most of us would rather live in a world where a plot of land on the Peak, large enough to house a hotel, can be yours for a mere $4,000.

I came across this infographic on Londonist which showed how far (clue: not at all) the marked price on Monopoly could afford you to stay in the equivalent neighbourhood with 2015 price, and this has got me thinking – how would a Hong Kong version look like?

After messing about online for a day, this is what I’ve come up with, and please refer to the explanation below.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Contrary to its American and British variations, the Hong Kong Monopoly lists locations rather than streets as properties. However, this proved to be a blessing on two counts. Firstly, neighbourhoods in Hong Kong are very mixed, at least on relative terms: while exclusive zones such as the Peak or Repulse Bay (most expensive on the board, as always) do exist, the majority of locations above contain a mixture of properties that is capable of presenting a more accurate the helpful figure. Secondly, it is far easier to access data on property prices listed this way – websites like GoHome does this exactly and all I have to do was to compile and average their data of all transactions in the locations between September and November of 2015.

Perhaps in acknowledgement that nobody would ever be able to afford the properties anyway, Hong Kong editions love to include places where nobody lives: good luck if your lifelong dream is to relocate to Chek Lap Kok. Indeed, there is even a version entirely dedicated on landmarks where you can buy the Victoria Harbour or Tsing Ma Bridge. For the sake of filling all the squares, I have reluctantly substituted some districts for others, hopefully nearby or of a similar character. Nevertheless, I can only apologise for replacing Ngong Ping for Ma Wan: swapping Po Lin Monastery for Noah’s Ark is the best I could do.

I have also taken the liberty to include a change here and there for a more authentic Hong Kong feel. Sincere apologies if you intend to win the game on the railroads or the utilities.

A few other interesting (or not) takeaways:

  • I have only just realised that the properties are arranged by districts: in the original order, it goes Lantau and Islands New Territories Kowloon Hong Kong Island.

  • Therefore, the biggest discrepancies by places belong to the more exclusive Lantau locales: both Discovery Bay and Ma Wan moved off the first row.

  • Hong Kongers seems to place transportation very highly in their hunt for properties: the three cheapest properties are either closer to Shenzhen, or in Cheung Chau’s case lacks a road link to the city centre.

  • Local and transportation at work again: the entire pink group moving to the 1st row.

  • Yes, railways pay: Tsing Yi may be middle of the pack but Kowloon station is the second most expensive…

  • Behind only the Peak, which at almost double the price remains the most expensive since time immemorial.

  • Only Kowloon Tong bucks the trend in the Island domination for the most expensive properties.

  • However, that’s probably the inevitable outcome when the Hasbro picked Causeway Bay as the cheapest Hong Kong island locations.

  • The monthly median income ($14,480) will not get you even 1 square foot of property in six of the locations.

  • What would you prefer, an iPhone or a square foot in Tin Shui Wai?

  • Prison is the sanctuary in Monopoly, and the Hong Kong one is rather expensive too. Stanley: more expensive than 21 other locations.

  • Hong Kong does have a Community Chest, literally. At the time of festivities, please do consider the less fortunate around us and do what we can to help.

Ah, I have had a lot of fun creating this board, would be fun as a Christmas day activity, wouldn’t it?