Bricks and Mortar
PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 July, 2014, 11:56am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 July, 2014, 12:54am

Mainland students renting rooms rather than flats in Hong Kong

Mainland parents shift from buying or renting flats for their children studying in the city


Sandy Li joined SCMP as a property reporter in 1996, and was promoted to senior reporter in 2005 and deputy property editor in 2009. During her career she has won several journalism prizes, including the Citi Journalistic Excellence Award in 2011. She was first runner-up for the same award in 2010.

While higher duties on property purchases in Hong Kong have scared off affluent mainland buyers, the demand for flats for rental for their children studying in the city remains unchanged.

What is different this year is that some mainlanders prefer renting a room for their children instead of having them share the entire flat with other students. It is a clear indication their budgets have shrunk.

A property agent in Tseung Kwan O said he had handled several leases for students from the mainland.

"The rooms were for about HK$4,500 to HK$5,500 per month, inclusive of electricity and water charges," the agent said.

About 10 rooms with an area of about 50 to 55 square feet each are available for lease in Tseung Kwan O.

Given the area's proximity to the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, demand for rental flats from the students there is expected to increase 10 to 20 per cent.

Some mainlanders prefer renting a room … It is a clear indication their budgets have shrunk

The agent said a couple was offering a room in a three-bedroom, 693 sqft flat in the one-year-old Beaumont development, about 10 minutes' walk from the Lohas Park MTR station.

The asking price is HK$5,500 a month, inclusive. The room comes with a bed, a cabinet and a computer table.

For that price, it is cheaper than sharing a flat. The rent for a two-bedroom flat at Beaumont is at least HK$12,000 a month. If the student opts to share the flat with another person, they would need to each fork out HK$6,500 to HK$7,000, including utility bills.

A landlord in Metro City in Tseung Kwan O rented a room in a two-bedroom flat for HK$4,500 a month.

Some landlords will also offer cleaning services to attract tenants, but the monthly rental will be 20 to 30 per cent higher.

"Most of these landlords are elderly people, and their children have either married or moved out. They then lease out the spare room to earn some income," said one agent.

Previously, mainland students preferred to rent large flats in new developments with a fancy clubhouse. It showed their parents were well-to-do.

But the central government's anti-corruption campaign has curbed ostentatious spending, prompting parents to refrain from splashing out on their children's overseas accommodation.


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