Date
23 August 2017
With 48 nano units, Wan Chai edged out Shum Shui Po (46), South district (25) and Yau Tsim Mong (22). The proportion of nano flats has doubled to 1.4 per cent of total housing completions. Photo: AFP
With 48 nano units, Wan Chai edged out Shum Shui Po (46), South district (25) and Yau Tsim Mong (22). The proportion of nano flats has doubled to 1.4 per cent of total housing completions. Photo: AFP

Meet CY and Paul, the fathers of nano homes

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and former Development Bureau chief-turned-Financial Secretary Paul Chan will be remembered for their efforts to increase land supply but also for facilitating what has come to be known as the nano home.

Sales of nano homes, defined as flats under 20 square meters, soared during their reign in which local residential prices kept surging.

As a result, buyers need to pay more for smaller flats.

Of course, we cannot blame the ridiculous housing situation on the duo. The housing supply shortage has existed for decades and real estate developers, big and small, are just too happy to count their blessings for as long as the situation drags on.

According to Development Board data, the number of nano homes has surged to 206 from just 81 units in 2013, up 150 per cent.

The proportion of nano flats has doubled to 1.4 per cent of total housing completions.

Almost a quarter of the nano homes, or 48 units, are in Wan Chai, which is regarded as the most livable district. Wan Chai edged out Shum Shui Po (46), South district (25) and Yau Tsim Mong (22) with the highest number of nano units.

It is interesting to note that in 2012, the year Leung took office, there was no nano home. Last year, the number was just below the total number of nano homes in the first four years of his administration.

It’s important to note that we are only talking about new nano flats, not subdivided apartments where some 200,000 people — often a family of three or more — live in generally smaller units of 100 square feet.

Well, in Hong Kong, you do not belong to the big league of developers if you do not have small units to sell because small homes also mean bigger margins for them.

That perhaps explains why the number of private sector small flats, defined as smaller than 431 square feet, has reached a 32-year high.

According to the Rating and Valuation Department, the number of small units to be completed next year will be 8,468, up 65.7 per cent from this year and also the highest in 24 years.

The portion of small units surged to 43.7 per cent of the total completions, just below the record 50.39 per cent in 1986.

More than 60 per cent of the small flats, or 5,236 units, will be available in Kowloon City, Shum Shui Po and Sha Tin.

Because of the year-long process from land tendering to home building, Development Bureau chief Eric Ma said the government should give space for market adjustment.

However, he stressed that the government would continue to monitor the market situation and take appropriate action such as setting certain rules on residential land (for limiting the portion of nano flats, we suppose).

It goes without saying that Hong Kong is getting smaller.

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BK/RA

EJ Insight writer

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