Most young adults expect their first Hong Kong apartments to be small. That’s not surprising considering the high cost of real estate in major cities. But the definition of a “small” Hong Kong apartment has become absurd in a city, which is generally regarded as the most expensive housing market in the world.
How Small Are They?
These new hong kong apartments are called nano flats, and I’d say they’re aptly named. Nano flats are Hong Kong apartments with less than 200 square feet of living space. Some of them are quite tiny at merely 128 square feet. To put that into proper perspective, a standard parking space in Hong Kong measures 134 square feet.
At these sizes, residents will be hard-pressed to provide a real home for themselves. It’s still possible to come up with a beautiful nano flat, but it will take ingenuity and a bit of luck.
The tiny sizes of these flats are legal according to Hong Kong laws. The city doesn’t follow the custom of other Western cities such as Sydney and London where there are legal requirements as to the minimum size of an apartment.
Developers are now on schedule to finish a minimum of 2,100 nano Hong Kong apartments between 2017 and 2020. These efforts were initiated to enable more of the younger homebuyers to enter the property market in Hong Kong. At the current rate of construction, that will mean an average of about 510 nano units finished for every year until 2020. That’s a vast improvement, considering that only an average of 151 nano flats were completed from 2014 to 2016.
Most of these new flats, however, will be found in the New Territories. This means that they won’t be conveniently close from the core business districts of the city. In addition, these flats may be more affordable than other apartments, but they’re actually more expensive on a per square foot basis.
It’s quite obvious to everyone that the housing prices for Hong Kong apartments have skyrocketed well beyond the means of ordinary wage earners. These exorbitant prices have led to the dramatic increase of interest over tiny apartments. Most developers have also compensated for the small size of the flats by putting in luxurious touches and amenities.
For those who are buying Hong Kong Apartments for the first time, the normal budget is less than HK$6 million. That’s $769,000 in US dollars. That’s the kind of budget that can only get them a bigger apartment if it’s in an old housing estate that’s more than 30 years old. It’s for that reason that many of these buyers would rather go for the smaller but newer nano flats.
Some developers have also tried to entice even more interest by offering nano flats at below-market prices. But that may not be necessary, because ultimately the demand for housing remains strong while the supply is precariously low. With the greater availability of nano flats, experts predict that first-time buyers will opt for smaller living spaces in the next few years.