Hong Kong property

‘Micro’ homes at T-Plus development in Tuen Mun priced at levels last seen in 2016

  • According to a price list released on Wednesday for the first batch of 73 units at T-Plus, the most affordable unit is being offered at HK$2.85 million (US$364,150)
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 November, 2018, 7:31am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 November, 2018, 11:34am

A residential project in Tuen Mun, made up of tiny flats smaller than a car parking space, is offering some of the cheapest new homes seen in the city since prices peaked in 2016.

According to a price list released on Wednesday for the first batch of 73 units at T-Plus, the most affordable unit is being offered at HK$2.85 million (US$364,150).

The smallest of the 73 flats on Wednesday’s price list was 131 square feet, or slightly bigger than the ultra-compact units with a net area of 128 sq ft.

“It is the cheapest in recent years since home prices started to peak,” said Thomas Lam, executive director at Knight Frank. “Developers can use these flats to test the market and attract buyers as the market recently has been really quiet.”

The flats were the most affordable since February 2016, when a 299 sq ft flat at Sun Hung Kai Properties’ Twin Regency in Yuen Long was offered at HK$2.8 million.

The low-price strategy as well as discounts have been adopted recently by developers in an effort to drum up sales as the housing market starts to cool.

“With an increasing number of buyers adopting a wait-and-see attitude, developers have softened asking prices to offload stock,” said Henry Mok, senior director of Capital Markets at JLL.

On Saturday, only three out of 150 units on offer were sold at The Esplanade in Tuen Mun, a development by Hong Kong builder Chuang’s China Investments. The cheapest flat, in a configuration of 162 sq ft, sold for HK$2.888 million.

The first day sell-through rate for new residential projects eased to 51 per cent in October, significantly lower than the average 97 per cent recorded from January to September, data from JLL showed.

The 356-unit T-Plus, located about 20 minutes walk from the Tuen Mun MTR station drew big headlines when the project plan, featuring nano flats, was unveiled in 2016. A total of 276 units, or nearly 80 per cent of those available, are studios ranging from 128 sq ft to 178 sq ft.

In 2017, Anthony Poon Chi-choi, director of the former developer Asia Allied Infrastructure’s property unit, Chun Wo Property Development, said, “even a Chinese emperor living in a place as big as the Forbidden City found comfort in just a small bed.

The 128 sq ft flats rank as the tinniest ever offered in the city, featuring 88 sq ft for the living room and open kitchen. The project features 12 flats in the 128 sq ft configuration. Some floors in the development are divided into as many as 33 units.

Previously the city’s smallest home was at AVA 62 in Jordan, in a layout of 152 sq ft.

In comparison, a standard parking space in Hong Kong is 134 sq ft. An average prison cell at the government correctional facility in Stanley is roughly 85 sq ft.

The site was originally bought by local developer Asia Allied Infrastructure, formerly known as Chun Wo Development Holdings in 2014 for HK$232.8 million, or HK$1,530 per sq ft.

The entire building was then sold to veteran property investor Tang Shing-bor for HK$1.2 billion in July 2017. Tang had once planned to convert the project into senior housing.

In May, mainland developer Jiayuan International Group bought a 70.1 per cent stake in the project for HK$938 million.

Local property broker Midland Realty has forecast 400 sales of new private homes in November, only a third of the number sold in October.

Median home prices rose for 28 consecutive months through July, but have since fallen 4 per cent in the past eight weeks.