A (tiny) room with a view

October 28, 2019 13:06
Hong Kong's housing crisis is prompting many young people to consider co-living arrangements. Photo: Bloomberg

Do you want to live in a unit with Victoria Harbour view?

Well, such lodgings are only a dream for most of us, given the sky-high property prices in the city.

Yet there is a way out, provided you are willing to settle for extremely tiny quarters and a co-living arrangement. 

Take a look at a transaction that took place at Cullinan West, a luxury residential development atop the Nan Cheong station in Shum Shui Po district.

A tenant has leased a unit for a monthly rate of HK$14,000, entering a deal with Hmlet, a Singapore property company which manages co-living spaces, as per a media report.

The price may seem attractive given the upscale property, but bear in mind that it gets you just a bedroom measuring 60 square feet.

In terms of cost per share foot, the tenant is shelling out HK$233 (nearly US$30) for his living quarters, making it perhaps the most expensive subdivided unit in the city.

To put things in perspective, people have paid between HK$25 and HK$30 per square foot for a unit in a middle-class housing estate in Hong Kong. Even assuming that you would pay double or more for a Cullinan rental unit -- which is a luxury, but not super-luxury, home – it still represents a huge premium.

To be fair, you get a splendid Victoria Harbour view in a four-bedroom unit, a state-of-the-art clubhouse, a co-sharing dining room and washroom as well as an all-you-can-use utilities and wireless internet facilities.

If you are a singleton and don't mind a co-living arrangement, this seems a good option, giving you the thrill of living in a high-end home with good harbor view. 

Of course you might want to use your space wisely given that five-by-six-feet bed would take up half of your living space. Creative solutions are needed when it comes to storage of clothes and personal items.

As for the owner, assuming that he can lease out all the four bedrooms -- two of which are 60 square feet in size and the other two are 160-square-foot units -- he would get a monthly rental of HK$68,000 from the apartment.

But that would mark only a little more than 2 percent yield, as he had shelled out HK$35.63 million for the 1,327-square-foot home when he made the purchase two years ago. 

That said, he should note that the unit that he has just leased out represents a new high for such transactions, breaking the previous record when a tenant paid HK$8,300 monthly rental for a 49-square-foot bedroom in Ocean Pride, Tsuen Wan, in February.

Co-working spaces that pitch so-called hot desks for more than HK$3,000 per month for startups might be finding that their room for rental growth is getting limited in Hong Kong.

But when it comes to the co-living segment, it seems the business will keep setting new records -- even amid these difficult times.

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EJ Insight writer