RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Micro flats multiply as residents scramble for affordable housing alternatives

Flats of less than 20 square meters accounted for 4% of private homes completed in 2017.

Micro flats accounted for about 4% of private residential units completed in 2017, according to data released to legislators on Monday, as Hong Kongers quickly snap any and all available homes amidst sky high property prices characteristic of the city’s heated property market.

Micro flats are homes of less than 20 square meters or about 206 square feet. In 2016, only 206 such homes were completed which accounted for 1.4% of the year’s private homes total.

Developers, however, are appropriately ramping up their building in response to market demand as residents have expressed growing willigness to squeeze into nano homes when faced with no other affordable housing alternative besides the government's Starter Homes scheme. 

Also read: 2,100 nano flats to be launched until 2020 

"Most first-time buyers can afford property costs within $6m. However, that budget would only enable them to buy a sizeable flat at old housing estates (those over 30-years-old) in urban areas given prices having reached record high levels,” JLL said in a report. 

Hong Kong holds the dubious distinction of having the least affordable housing market in the world for the eighth year in a row, beating Sydney, Los Angeles and San Francisco for the top spot. The government under Carrie Lam has been aggressively looking for alternatives to unlock more land to solve Hong Kong’s chronic housing problem, from developing underperforming terminals to building above transport infrastructure.

Also read: Year-end home prices up for 14th month in a row

Home prices are expected to continue their upward trend with prices projected to rise 5% for mass housing and 8% for luxury housing by end-2018, according to a Knight Frank report.

Photo from Mstyslav Chernov - Self-photographed,, CC BY-SA 3.0

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