Hong Kong’s government said on Thursday it will set a minimum size requirement of 26 square metres (280 square feet) – equivalent to two parking spaces – for each home to be built on land from future sales.
The measure is also expected to cover the land sales throughout the financial year that begins in April, as Hong Kong seeks to counter a trend for “nano flats” in one of the world’s most expensive property markets.
“This is in response to citizens’ demands to live in a bigger space,” Michael Wong, development secretary, said on Thursday.
Wong said the new requirement will be enforced for a government land sale in the New Territories in the first quarter of 2022, as well as at another site to be sold by railway operator MTR.
Homes of less than 26 square metres accounted for about 13% of the total private home supply in the past five years, he said.
Making housing more affordable has been a priority for all of Hong Kong’s leaders since the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997, although the prospect of owning a home is a distant dream for many.
Authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing have long blamed unaffordable housing in the territory for deep-rooted resentment that they say helped to fuel anti-government protests in 2019.
Chinese officials have also raised concerns about the cramped conditions of some living spaces, particularly the sub-divided flats and “cage homes” – wire-mesh hutches stacked on top of each other.
Hong Kong private home prices in November retreated for a second successive month from an all-time high, official data showed on Wednesday, but realtors expect the property market to gain as much as 10% in 2022.
- Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard