Rents slashed at luxury project for retired Hongkongers in bid to generate interest

16 per cent discounts offered after just 75 of the 588 flats in North Point scheme are leased out

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 September, 2016, 8:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 September, 2016, 11:23pm

Rents at a luxury housing project for wealthy retirees in North Point have been slashed by 16 per cent after an earlier discount failed to stir interest.

The Housing Society announced on Monday that it would also waive tenants’ monthly management fees, service charges and rates at the Tanner Hill, its first non-subsidised project for the elderly.

Only 75 of the 588 flats have been leased out since its opening in December.

In March the society opened the flats – originally only for life-long contracts – for short-term rents, as well as offering a 10 per cent discount on long-term rents. But sales did not pick up.

Hong Kong’s first life-long rentals for the elderly project opens, but not all welcome it

“The speed of renting the flats out has been slower than expected,” society chairman Marco Wu Moon-hoi said. “We believe there is great potential demand and hope we can rent the units out as soon as possible with the new offer.”

From October 1, average monthly rents for a two-year contract will range from HK$11,800 to HK$51,800 for flats between 344 sq ft and 1,231 sq ft.

The rental for life-long contracts remains unchanged – HK$1.56 million to HK$9.31 million. The older the tenants, the smaller the rental.

Tanner Hill, which cost over HK$3 billion to build, targets tenants aged 60 and older. No means test is required. The society gets the flats back when life-long tenants die.

Wu said the now waived management and service charges ranged from HK$3,000 to HK$6,000. He remained optimistic about the market for similar projects, saying Tanner Hill was first of its kind in Hong Kong and that people needed time to absorb new concepts.

He added that more facilities such as clinics, a residential care home and restaurants would open by the end of the year, which would attract more elderly.

Time is running out to find solutions to housing problems faced by Hong Kong’s rapidly ageing population

Wu said the society had no plan to introduce further discounts but that it would keep tracking the market response.

But Lawrence Poon Wing-cheung, senior lecturer at City University and a Town Planning Board member, said elderly people might find such projects unattractive because they could not own the flats and pass them down to relatives.

He added that elderly in Chinese societies often preferred their children to look after them instead of living independently, even though they could enjoy one-stop health and medical services in similar elderly housing projects.

“Rich elderly may also have their own properties and want to live together with their children and grandchildren,” Poon said.

According to the latest population projection by the Census and Statistics Department, the proportion of those aged 65 and above is expected to rise from 15 per cent in 2014 to 36 per cent in 2064.