Date
22 September 2017
Louisa Mak (inset top) and Priscilla Wong spoke from the heart at a new home launch by Henderson Land in Fanling. Photo: Reuters, HKEJ
Louisa Mak (inset top) and Priscilla Wong spoke from the heart at a new home launch by Henderson Land in Fanling. Photo: Reuters, HKEJ

Beauty and the beast that built the mini-flats

Most Hong Kong homebuyers, with the exception of the rich second generation, go through a mountain of debt before they get the key to their first home.

This has been happening for 50 years but now the problem is that homebuyers pay more for a smaller home.

And even if you have beauty and brains, you have no choice but to go through this cycle.

That perhaps explains why former Miss Hong Kong Louisa Mak and popular actress Priscilla Wong were speaking from their hearts at a new home launch by Henderson Land (0012.HK) in Fanling.

“It is indeed a pity that you spend your whole life repaying millions in debt after graduation,” Mak said.

Living in The Waterfront above Kowloon Station with her family, the Cambridge graduate does not have a timetable for a home purchase.

But she said she might not buy a new flat because it is cheaper to get a second-hand unit and turn it into a dream home.

What an interesting comment to her sponsor, Henderson Land, which is launching Eden Manor, a luxury project overlooking the Fanling golf course.

Actress Priscilla Wong was nice to point out that it would be a blessing to live near a golf course but she is only an ordinary citizen who hopes to have enough space to live with her family.

That is probably a huge understatement given that her father is a shareholder of newly listed company Luen Wong Group Holdings Ltd. (08217.HK), the world’s best performing stock with a 865 times return this year.

But one thing Wong would not consider buying is a subdivided flat, a new trend in housing.

All developers, especially Henderson Land, an expert in renovating or rebuilding single, old buildings, are making new homes smaller to maximize profit.

These units are priced cheaper but they still cost at least HK$10,000 (US$1,290) per square foot in non-core areas and HK$20,000 on Hong Kong island.

Last week, Chun Wo Property Development (0711.hk) broke the record for marketing the smallest home of 128 square feet that was inspired by a student quarter.

The company got into hot water for saying even a Chinese emperor living in a place as big as the Forbidden City found comfort in a small bed. 

On the issue of subdivided new flats, Mak was quick to point out that neither the developers nor buyers are responsible for these units. The big environment, she said, upsets the balance of supply and demand.

Well, it does not take an intelligent lady like Mak to know who is to blame.

Let’s hope she is at least right with her parting shot: there’s hope for tomorrow.

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BK/AC/RA

EJ Insight writer

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