Roof over your head and ever smaller sizes? Hmm.

No matter how rich or poor you are, you need a roof over your head, true? True. Next question, buy something within your budget but where? Far away and be jammed when it rains heavily or buy much nearer and closer but much smaller units? Walking distance to the new future MRTs. Prices in Hong Kong has always been way above what their typical household can afford. Do not be fooled by the typical series you view on TVB. Not many of them are staying in those big units. Majority, since my university days stays in apartments / flats for which if one person has to sit inside the toilet for a mahjong session. Today I read in about newly built studio flats of 177 sq feet veing sold for HK$1.5 million or RM621,000. 177 sq feet is around 10% of my current condo here in Damansara Damai.

hotelThere’s no need to wonder too much about how big is 177sq feet. Just go to AGODA, look at the hotel room sizes. It’s a typical room, with a bed, small toilet and a super small simple kitchen for you to cook your instant noodle or heat up pre-packed soups. That’s 177 sq feet. They call these high end micro-flats. There was even a comparison of the size with Hong Kong’s prison cell which is only 3 times smaller! The marketers said that these units are hip and caters to the singles and that it’s better than those in New York which is not just small but old. The campaigners against them said that these units are inhumane and that “You lose your dignity even though you have the bricks and mortar.”

Personally, if you have been following, you would know that I have always been against SOHO / SOVO / SOFO units which are smaller units but sold at a comparable price of a further away apartment / condo which is more suitable for families. However, I have to say that these units are really more practical if you are single and would just want a roof over your head instead of a unit which you would want your family to grow in. Furthermore, how many times would you be entertaining your family members who visits you in a year, if that happens, sleeping on the floor can always be a viable option. This does not mean however that the units should be priced ever higher because I do not believe even a rational single may want to part with RM500,000 or higher just to own a 600sf unit no matter what you promise them. To me, Malaysia is not going to reach the levels of Hong Kong anytime soon, not even by 2020 if you ask me in terms of property market development. Stay with units which will be preferable to more people and understand that there are limits to the prices increase to these units.


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1 Comment

  • […] In UK, the ratio is now 2.4 persons to one house. When you look at this number, it is also important to note that one major reason would also be because of the house prices being way too expensive and thus, the newer ones in good areas are now built smaller. Once you build them smaller to make it affordable, you cannot have too many within that home. Imagine a SOHO for 4 pax? Nah, I do not think this is the number for any SOHO. a typical family of 4 would still feel comfortable only with a 1,000sf home or higher. Anything lower, they can make do but definitely not an ideal space. I have stayed in a 700sf apartment for 5 years with my wife, my sister and even my brother, for a while. It’s cosy of course but not awesome. Thus, this ratio would continue to decrease because the units built in the better spots would be ever tinier to maintain affordability. In fact, Hong Kong launched this: 177sf micro-flats, so that it’s affordable enough.  […]

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