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When my home sweet home is a small-sized unit. Less than 500 sq ft?

What was the size of your first home sweet home? A single room of 150 sq ft? With a single bed and a study desk and perhaps an attached bathroom? What’s the current size of your home sweet home? A landed double-storey terrace with a total built-up of 1,800 sq ft? Within a gated and guarded community? With a playground for kids of another 20,000 sq ft?

Perhaps you are now staying with your family and that’s a total of 4 people? Then, everyone in the family gets 450 sq ft per person. This is still 3x better than when you were till a student and single. This is Malaysia and we are lucky.

home sweet home
Photo by Burst on

In Hong Kong, this was what a man said after moving into a 290 sq ft subsidised home which he could only stay for 2 years. He said, “It feels like a home.” He added, “The previous flat was only a place to sleep.”

Actually, just reading the sentences made me tinge with some sadness. This man feels so grateful that he could finally move into a flat of 290 sq ft. And he said he used to own just a place to sleep and now he has a home. By the way, he stays with his wife and a son. Read on.

Article in When Lau Kai Fai, his wife and teenage son moved into a new Hong Kong flat last month, he thought the 290 square feet (27 square metres) of space in his “module home” felt like “winning the lottery.” He used to pay HK$5,000 (RM2,686) for a 80 sq ft subdivided “coffin homes.” Now he pays HK$3,000 (RM1,612) for his 290 sq ft home.

Lau is a beneficiary of Hong Kong’s latest initiative to ease housing shortage where people have to wait 5.5 years to get public housing. The transitional homes are build on idle land leased by the government or private developers for a few years. The prefab modules could be moved and reused if needed in the future.

This ‘lottery win’ is more than 3 times Lau’s previous home of 80 sq ft. The home was built from container-like blocks for just 40% cost of building a public rental home. This land which the homes were built on were leased by developer Henderson land for HK$1 a month. Lack of land and money are making it hard to build more transitional homes. Do read the full article here with more details: Article in

This 3 times bigger home which Lau was given an opportunity to rent will only be for 2 years even if he would like for it to be extended forever. There are others like him who are waiting for their turn to live in such a home sweet home. There are an estimated 200,000 people living in “coffin homes” in Hong Kong. (read here for the article)

After this 2-year term, Lau and his family would have to move out, either to public housing or back to their subdivided coffin home. This is indeed a sad thought because every passing month means a closer date to move out of this 290 sq ft home which Lau’s family enjoy tremendously currently. I think as Malaysians, we should always be grateful that we are not facing such a situation where an opportunity ti stay in a 290 sq ft unit is a home sweet home.

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Charles Tan The Founder The Writer Kopiandproperty
Charles Tan

Charles is Founder of He writes from his investment experience for the the past 20 years in investments including property, stock, unit trust and more as well as readings and conversations with many property gurus in the industry. is an independent property blog which is not affiliated to any media company, property developer or even real estate agencies.

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