Can you find a Hong Kong flat for under HK$10,000 a month that’s not in the middle of nowhere?
Unless you want to live in the middle of nowhere, it can be all but impossible to rent a flat in Hong Kong for under HK$10,000 a month.
As of Friday, there were just 85 apartments in that price bracket among the thousands listed on the website of Midland Realty, one of the city’s largest property agents. And almost all of those are in locations that could at best be described as inconvenient.
The financial burden on tenants in the world’s most expensive city are showing no signs of easing, the official rental index having stretched its rally to 18 months in September.
The average rent per square foot has climbed 6 per cent so far this year and stood at HK$35.95 in October, 0.3 per cent higher than the previous month, according to Midland Realty.
There may be some relief in the coming months as the fourth quarter is traditionally the low season in the rental business, according to the property agency.
Most of Hong Kong’s units that are available to rent for less than HK$10,000 are in older buildings in the New Territories – suburban areas such as Tuen Mun, Yuen Long and Tin Shui Wai. Their sizes on Midland’s site ranged from 181 square feet at Tai Po’s Mont Vert development to 480 sq ft at Tuen Mun’s Blossom Garden.
But, perhaps surprisingly, at the periphery of some urban areas such as Tai Wai, Tsuen Wan and Aberdeen – and even Mong Kok, Hong Kong’s busiest shopping district – there is still a handful of flats that are yours for less than HK$10,000 a month.
One of them is in the 39-year-old Shun King Building in Mong Kok, charging HK$9,800 for 216 sq ft of saleable area, or HK$45 per sq ft.
Close by is an apartment in Hoi Ning House at Hoi Fu Court, which charges HK$9,800 for 213 sq ft of saleable area, or HK$46 per sq ft. It is the youngest of the flats for under HK$10,000 being advertised as of Friday, having been built in the year 2000.
In Tai Wai’s 42-year-old Tai On Building, a 393 sq ft flat is available for HK9,500, just HK$24 per sq ft.
Tenants who prefer Hong Kong Island would have to settle for even older buildings.
In Aberdeen, a flat in Hip Sing Mansion, completed in 1990, charges HK$9,000 for 425 sq ft of saleable area, or HK$21 per sq ft.
In Tsuen Wan, a flat in the 45-year -old On Yue building is yours for HK$7,800 a month. At 548 sq ft, that works out at just HK$14 per sq ft.
Some market observers believe that with demand for smaller flats in Hong Kong so strong, these kind of apparent bargains may not be around for much longer.
“I believe housing rents will continue to go up steadily, particularly for flats of small sizes. Reasons include increases in housing prices and strong demand for smaller flats,” said Thomas Lam, head of valuation and consultancy at Knight Frank.
“If users are unable to buy flats, then they can only rent. Also, many investors like to buy small flats for investment. This also pushes up the rents.”