The Hong Kong government has said it has no immediate plans to set restrictions on the minimum size of newly-built apartments, but would consider doing so.

Secretary for Development Eric Ma Siu-cheung made the comments on Thursday amid increasing public concern over the trend of so-called “nano-flats,” of 100 to 200 square feet in size.

File photo: Ko Chun-ming,

“We have no intention in the coming quarter to impose any land use condition about controlling or maintaining a minimum flat size,” said Ma at a press conference.

However, he said the government would pay close attention to the situation of “nano-flats,” and re-evaluate whether restrictions are necessary every quarter.

“With these small flats, we are watching the trend,” he said. “If there is any significant tendency towards [them], without supplying flats of bigger size or medium size, then we will need to make a decision.”

He said that the development process for a private apartment block normally takes three to four years, during which market conditions could change. “We have to allow some space for the market to accommodate itself.”

128 square feet

The smallest apartment in T Plus, a private residential block in Tuen Mun developed last year, reportedly has a usable floor area of only 128 square feet, equivalent to that of a private car parking space.

Eric Ma Siu-cheung. Photo: GovHK.

There are over 30 apartments on each floor of Yuen Long’s Domus and Hung Hom’s Upper East, both private blocks developed in the past two years.

On Thursday, Ma announced plans to auction up to 28 new residential plots of land to private developers in the coming year.

“We understand that there are concerns about [the small apartments] in the market,” said Ma, “but we also see that there is a demand for them.”

“There are large, medium and small-sized apartments in the market right now, and they are quite evenly-balanced.”

Maximum floor size

The government has introduced apartment size restrictions in some of its land sale contracts since 2011.

File photo: Ko Chun-ming,

However, in an effort to encourage developers to build more small and medium-sized apartments, the contracts only stipulated the maximum – not minimum – floor area of each apartment. They also stipulated the minimum number of units to be constructed in a block.

The restrictions were first introduced for a residential project located above Nam Cheong MTR station, sold to Sun Hung Kai Properties in 2011. The contract stipulated that 75 per cent of the apartments constructed must be less than 538 square feet in size.

Elson Tong

Elson Tong is a graduate of international relations and former investigations consultant. He has also written for Stand News.