23 October 2016
This 80-square-foot subdivided flat (inset) costs more than a luxury unit at The Belcher's in Kennedy Town. Photo: Wikipedia, Headline
This 80-square-foot subdivided flat (inset) costs more than a luxury unit at The Belcher's in Kennedy Town. Photo: Wikipedia, Headline

Subdivided flat costs more than a luxury unit at Belcher’s

Subdivided flats are a fact of life in Hong Kong, but this one takes the cake.

How much do you think it would cost to rent an 80-square-foot space which is nothing more than a sleeping quarter on top of a toilet?

HK$6,200 a month. 

We kid you not. That’s exactly the asking price for a subdivided flat in Kennedy Town, The Headline reported on Friday.

At HK$77.5 per square foot, that’s more than double the average rent of a luxury unit at The Belcher’s, a posh neighborhood nearby, which is around HK$36.5 per square foot.

An ad for the subdivided flat was posted recently on a property website, and it was described as a “penthouse”.

Indeed. A raised bed over a toilet. 

To get to the bed, you need to climb a wooden ladder.

Tenants may cook beside the toilet where there is also a wash basin. There’s also space for a small table.

The reporter from The Headline called the owner, surnamed Chu, and acted like he was interested in renting the place.

“You’re a bit late,” the flat owner replied. “The flat has already been taken a young man who just graduated from New York.”

There is, in fact, a great demand for accommodation from university students in Hong Kong, and some entrepreneurs believe they can tap this market without having to go down to the level of the “penthouse” flat owner.

One example is private hostel organization SynBOX Hostel, which is run by a group of graduates from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU).

The hostel is renovated from a tong lau, which refers old tenement buildings built in the late 19th century to the 1960s.

A number of students from PolyU and the City University of Hong Kong have already signed up as its first tenants.

The five-storey building offers 30 rooms of different sizes, with two to four beds in each room. Monthly rent ranges from HK$2,800 to HK$3,600.

If the building is fully occupied, the revenue could reach at least HK$200,000 a month. 

Lau Tat-chi, project assistant of SynBox, said the company started to renovate the building this June, and is planning to operate similar hostels near the Chinese University in Sha Tin as well as the University of Hong Kong in Mid-levels West.

Another hostel operator, Campus HK, is operating a student dorm in Tsuen Wan but on a larger scale.

The hostel provides various facilities such as gym room, sauna parlor, swimming pool and Jacuzzi. Each room in this luxury dormitory is equipped with four beds, each costing HK$6,000 a month.

The 48-room building is now fully occupied, according to a spokesperson of Campus HK. It is estimated that the monthly revenue could reach HK$1.15 million.

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