A peek into 6 of the smallest flats in Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 July, 2017, 9:32am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 August, 2017, 10:28am

Hong Kong’s residents, already accustomed to expensive, crowded spaces, learnt a new term in 2016 - the nano flat, apartments that measure less than 200 sq ft (18.5 square meters), including a bathroom.

What’s it like to live in a space that’s smaller than a standard car park space? That’s quite literally a multi-million dollar question, as these apartments don’t come cheap. Developers completed 206 units of these apartments last year, tripling the supply from 2013.

The reason nano flats are popular is, simply, price: they’re affordable enough for many first-time home buyers who’ve given up on owning larger apartments. More are being built as developers cash in on the demand - they’re even converting hotels and other buildings into nano flats.

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The South China Morning Post takes a look at six of these apartments:

1. Mont Vert II in Tai Po

Smallest unit: 165 sq ft

Developer: Cheung Kong Property

Price: HK$1.4 million

Cheung Kong Holdings unveiled its 165-sq ft Mont Vert II development in Tai Po in October 2014 and offered it for HK$1.77 million, setting the record for the smallest unit in the city.

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2. One Prestige in North Point

Starting unit size: 163 sq ft

Developer: Chun Wo Property

Price: HK$3.9 million

Henderson Land’s One Prestige apartment complex in North Point includes a unit that measures 163 sq ft, setting the record as the smallest flat on Hong Kong Island as of September 2016. The developer put a price tag of HK$3.9 million on the fifth-floor unit, or HK$23,975 per sq ft.

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3. Seven Victory Avenue in Ho Man Tin

Starting unit size: 161 sq ft

Developer: Chun Wo Property

Price: HK$4 million

Chun Wo Property is offering apartments at its Seven Victory Avenue project at Ho Man Tin that start from 161 sq ft. The complex, located in Kowloon West near Kadoorie Hill, will feature 250 apartment units ranging from 161 sq ft to 390 sq ft. It is scheduled for completion on December 31, 2018.

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4. AVA62 in Jordan

Starting unit size: 152 sq ft

Developer: Wisdom Gaining

Price: HK$3.27 million

AVA62 apartments in Jordan, north of Victoria Harbour in Kowloon, was competing with One Prestige to have the smallest flat in Hong Kong last September.

Each unit in AVA62, built by Wisdom Gaining, measures 152 sq ft, including a 21 sq ft balcony. Despite its size, AVA62 sells for about HK$20,000 per sq ft, pricing the average unit at about HK$3 million.

5. Stars Studios in Wan Chai

Starting unit size: 142 sq ft

Developer: Swire Properties

Swire Properties, the luxury residential and Grade-A office builder, also jumped on the bandwagon of nano flats last October, releasing a project for sale in Wan Chai with units starting from 142 sq ft.

Six studio units in the complex measure 142 sq ft each, about 10 sq ft larger than a standard private car parking space. Two of those units even come with the use of a sky terrace. The remainder of the project are one- or two-bedroom apartments.

6. TPlus in Tuen Mun

Chun Wo Property takes the dubious honour as the developer of the smallest living space in Hong Kong, with a 128-sq ft apartment under construction at TPlus in Tuen Mun.

Smaller than a standard 134-sq ft parking space, these nano flats are available for lease at HK$4,000 per month, or HK$31 per sq ft - up to 30 per cent more expensive than the market rate in that area, according to Centaline Property Agency’s data. A standard car parking space costs HK$1,500 per month to lease.

More statistics on nano flats in Hong Kong

1. Nano flats are more popular in some districts than others – 10.8 per cent of all homes completed in Wan Chai last year were nano flats, the highest proportion in any district.

2. Overall, the proportion of small flats, or Class A flats of less than 400 sq ft, is rising. In 2012, 14.9 per cent of completed units were Class A flats. This surged to 25.9 per cent last year and is expected to rise to 43.4 per cent in 2018. That means 8,468 out of 19,526 new flats will be small homes.

3. Between 2003 and 2016, nominal wages increased by 58 per cent, but residential rents rose 129 per cent, according to the Rental & Nominal Wage Index compiled by Our Hong Kong Foundation.

4. At a 128-sq ft flat in TPlus, the owner will in reality be left with just 50 sq ft of living space, after deducting the space set aside for a balcony, a toilet and an open kitchen.

5. Tenants living in subdivided flats earn a monthly salary of about HK$10,000, according to Lai Kin-kwok, a convenor of Platform of Concerning Subdivided Flats in Hong Kong.