Date
16 January 2017
Upper East, nicknamed 'center of subdivided flats', has 36 units on a single floor. Apartments are as small as 194 square feet. Photos: Kowloon Development, Apple Daily
Upper East, nicknamed 'center of subdivided flats', has 36 units on a single floor. Apartments are as small as 194 square feet. Photos: Kowloon Development, Apple Daily

Small is not just beautiful but never dies

The Greek philosopher Aristotle believed the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

But Hong Kong developers do not believe in philosophy, and that is why they maximize profits by making residential units smaller.

In the latest residential property sales at what is dubbed as the smallest private housing estate, Kowloon Development Co. Ltd. (00034.HK) is to launch 1,008 units at Upper East in Hung Hom, with 36 units on a single floor.

Welcome to the small world!

Among the 36 units, half of them are one-bedroom flats, followed by 17 studios, each of 194 square feet.

There’s only one two-bedroom flat, of 375 sq ft.

It will have a tiny, 13 sq ft balcony.

These configurations turn the clock back to the 1970s, when the colonial government first planned public housing estates to cater for increasing housing needs.

Arguably, the demand for housing is greater now, but what is certain is the number of units on a single floor at Upper East broke the record of 34 in a public housing estate.

That is why the developer put in eight escalators for the potential buyers, who are expected to be young people or investors.

The pricing of the flats will be announced later this week.

The presale flats will be not available for occupancy until 2018.

Small seems to dominate the mainstream when it comes to local property.

One main reason is affordability.

But as the housing supply cannot satisfy the demand from Hongkongers, let alone the growing influx of mainlanders coming to Hong Kong for work, studies or even fake marriages, developers are coming up ways to build smaller units – which in the end cost more in dollars per square foot.

For example, the cheapest of some newly launched residential units may still cost less than HK$5 million each, but they had only one bedroom, not two.

Even mini-storage space, car parking spots or even safe deposit boxes are increasing in price at a higher percentage rate than a normal two-bedroom flat.

Kowloon Development sales manager Yeung Chung-wing said Upper East was a breakthrough design for his firm and welcomed other developers to come and have a look.

In the face of the ongoing stock market collapse, of which Yeung admitted he is one of the victims, he said buying a flat is a good defensive investment during turbulent times.

Well, what can we say?

Small is not just beautiful but also never dies.

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BK/JP/FL

EJ Insight writer

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