Rents per square foot for subdivided units are twice as expensive as those of normal flats, a study has found.

Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Institute of Future Cities and the group Platform Concerning Subdivided Flats and Issues in Hong Kong formulated an index showing the rental and electricity costs of subdivided flats, using the rental level in 1999 as the base value. They collected data from the Rating and Valuation Department’s rental index and 107 subdivided units in Hong Kong.

The index for subdivided flats was 370.1, more than double the 177.4 recorded for small flats with saleable area of 429 square feet or below.

Photo: Ko Chun-ming,

From 2012 to last October, the index for subdivided units rose by 56% while it only increased by 21% for small flats.

Associate director of the institute Edward Yip Chung-yim said under the pressure of increasing housing demand and decreasing supply, rents of smaller units have increased at a faster rate compared with larger units.

Photo: Ko Chun-ming,

Convener of the Platform, Lai Kin-kwok, suggested the government should use abandoned schools and vacant civil servant dormitories, and provide transitional housing for families who had been on the waiting list of public rental housing for more than three years.

A recent Audit Commission report showed that there were 105 vacant school premises in Hong Kong. Lai said if the government were to renovate 80 of the schools, more than 4900 families could be housed.

The Office of the Ombudsman said in its reports that the Housing Authority’s claim that applicants waiting for public housing would be allocated a property within three years was misleading.

Koel Chu

Koel Chu is a second-year journalism and fine arts student at the University of Hong Kong. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Koel is interested in the arts and urban design. She interned at China Radio International in Beijing and, at her university, she also works as Vice-President of Branding and Marketing in AIESEC, the largest youth-run organisation in the world.