Tiny flats on offer at Cheung Kong's Mont Vert in Tai Po are set to cause a big impact among investors and first-time buyers.
The 1,071-unit project in Fung Yuen offers 196 flats with sizes of less than 200 sq ft.
The smallest have a saleable area of only 177 sq ft, with 97 sq ft living rooms, 13 sq ft kitchens and 31 sq ft washrooms.
It makes them similar to typical public housing studio flats, which have monthly rents of HK$1,200. They are also bigger than flats at Henderson Land's High Place in Kowloon City, which launched in September with a saleable area of 166 sq ft. Cheung Kong plans to launch Mont Vert this month, and property agents expect prices will be more than HK$1.7 million, or HK$10,000 per sq ft.
Anthony Man, a district manager at Centaline Property Agency, said: "The market response will depend on asking prices. But many people are interested in the project.
"The demand for small flats in Tai Po from end-users has been very strong in recent months."
Man added: "The leasing market in Tai Po usually records 40 to 60 deals a month.
"However, leasing transactions increase to over 100 a month from June to August.
"More than half of the tenants are mainland students. They have to rent a flat before the academic year at the universities begins."
Liu Zhanxiang, a mainlander newly graduated from Chinese University, said: "Tai Po is close to the university. I think many mainland students would be interested in the flats. But the flat size is only 177 sq ft. It's too small for me."
Veteran residential investor Chan Ching-pak is not interested in the project. "It would be difficult to find tenants when the project is completed - and it is not located in the urban area. You have to ask for a lower rent to attract tenants.
"I don't think the monthly rent of the flats can reach HK$5,300 or HK$30 per sq ft," he said, adding that small flats in urban areas such as Causeway Bay and Wan Chai were more popular in the leasing market.
Chan added: "It may be difficult to resell the flats. They are too small. No one would pay a large amount to buy a tiny flat."
An architect, who declined to be identified, believes the developer is trying to both maximise the floor area and comply with the Buildings Ordinance.
He said: "They may not be able to offer one-bedroom flats based on the building layout.
"Another possible reason is that it is a marketing strategy. It is easy to catch the market's attention with an asking price of less than HK$2 million."