A developer is converting 18 flats in an upmarket complex in one of Hong Kong’s most prestigious neighbourhoods into 270 units as small as 80 sq ft to rent out as co-living spaces to young graduates and jobseekers. Eton Properties, owned by the family of Filipino magnate Lucio Tan, will convert Woodland Villas on Shouson Hill Road into single-bedroom flats between 80 and 200 sq ft in size, with all-inclusive monthly rent starting from HK$7,600. The project will be renamed Mini Ocean Park Station, in a nod to the tourist attraction nearby. “Our research showed that demand for co-living space is on the rise, as Hong Kong’s home prices and rents have skyrocketed,” Eton marketing manager Cynthia Cheung said. “It’s a new lifestyle experience for young people. We will provide 24-hour security for them, unlike subdivided flats in poorly managed, ageing buildings.” The plan, devised after railway operator MTR Corp opened a station nearby, comes as record residential property prices have kept home ownership beyond the reach of the average jobseeker or graduate. The plan is actually a shrewd application of mathematics. Before the conversion, Woodland Villas’ 1,600 sq ft units were offered for rent at HK$98,000, not including a monthly management fee of HK$8,570. By subdividing, Eton gets 270 units out of the complex, compared with just 18 before the conversion. The monthly unit price of HK$95 per sq ft is 13 per cent more than for serviced apartments operated by the Four Seasons Hotel in Central. The most expensive leases are 120 sq ft units with sea views, which are listed at HK$20,000 per month. Each of the converted units, which come with a bathroom and weekly cleaning service, can house two residents. A peek into 6 of the smallest flats in Hong Kong Leases are available from a month to longer durations, and include utility charges and Wi-fi. The conversion of the first of three residential blocks had been completed and those units were available for lease now, with 10 already rented, Cheung said. Eton, founded during the 1980s, is one of the largest private property developers in the city. It is valued at more than HK$20 billion with projects such as Carmen’s Garden, Dragon Centre, King’s Court and Eton Tower. Tuen Mun’s ‘nano flats’, smaller than standard car parking lots, command outsize rents Eton is not the only company cashing in on co-living spaces, otherwise known as subdivided flats in less luxurious circumstances. Synergy Biz will launch a HK$150 million co-living space called Bibliotheque in Mong Kok in September. The project – converted from two five-storey buildings – provides 166 bed spaces in 15 units, with a monthly rent starting from HK$4,000 inclusive of regular cleaning and management services.