New home deal has Granny flat included

Novel concept from Housing Society gives priority to buyers who want to live a few floors up from elderly relatives, in special rental units

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 November, 2013, 4:47am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 November, 2013, 5:48am

A new housing project has come up with a novel way of addressing how the city can care for its ageing population - it will give priority to buyers who plan to rent a flat in the same block for their elderly relatives.

The media was given a first glimpse of Harmony Place in Shau Kei Wan yesterday. It is the brainchild of the non-profit making Housing Society and is a response to statistics showing that by 2041, people aged 65 or over will account for a third of the population, as opposed to the current 14 per cent.

"This is the first time we have launched a project that is specially designed to cross the generations. We hope to encourage more buyers to take care of their parents or parents-in-law," said the society's assistant general manager Daniel Mak Yiu-man.

As well as selling 214 flats, Harmony Place will also offer 60 flats for rental. Specially designed with the elderly in mind, these flats are located on the sixth to 11th floors, where extra-wide corridors allow space for wheelchairs. Inside the flats, there are support rails and safety alarms, sprinklers, fire alarms and phones linking directly to their relatives' flats elsewhere in the building.

To make it onto the priority list, buyers will be required to declare that they have a close relationship with the elderly relative who will be renting.

Mak said: "In order to encourage the norm of living with the elderly, we tend to impose less stringent requirements in this project. The elderly are not necessarily their parents. They can be relatives who need long-term health care."

While declining to disclose the selling price and rental level, Mak said they would be set according to the market. The show flat in Cheung Sha Wan is open to the public from today ahead of the sales launch later this year.

Mak said only one purchase per buyer would be allowed, and no purchases by companies would be permitted.

Data released by real estate agent Centaline shows that second-hand flats from Sun Hung Kai Properties' recently completed iUniQ Residence in Shau Kei Wan are priced from HK$19,463 to HK$21,413 per sq ft.

Despite the high price, real estate agents expected a good market response to the Housing Society project, while refraining from speculating about the selling price.

Larry Chau, a sales manager at Midland Realty, said: "Our firm has received more than 10 inquiries a month about the project over the past few months.

"Many young families are interested in it as they want to live closer to their parents, but it is very difficult to buy or lease two flats in the same building," he added. "As the rental flats are owned by the society, you wouldn't need to worry about any unexpected increase in the rent by 10 to 15 per cent."

Patrick Tsang, senior sales director at Centaline, said the project would draw a lot of interest for its ideas on elderly care. "Also, we haven't had any other new projects in the area on the market for over a year," he added.