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Thursday, November 10, 2016, 10:07

Space capsules offer cheap HK housing

By Lin Wenjie in Hong Kong
Space capsules offer cheap HK housing
A space capsule pod in Hong Kong. ( Photo provided to China Daily)

Hong Kong is widely known for its high rents and tiny homes. As a result, a local landlord is bringing "space capsule pods" to the city, which can be stacked together to ease the housing crunch, adding a new accommodation option for university students and young workers.

A local rental website shows that 10 capsule pods in a 90 square meter dormitory are currently available for rent in Sai Ying Pun - the northwestern part of Hong Kong Island, near Hong Kong University and the main business district Central.

The rental price for each capsule pod starts at HK$4,500 (US$580) per month. In a three-bedroom apartment, four capsules were stacked in the sitting-room and two capsules were installed as bunk beds in each bedroom.

In spite of their small size, capsule pods come complete with a bed, ventilation fan, light switches, a computer table and power outlets

One kitchen and one bathroom will be shared by all the tenants. Each pod, which is 1.9 meters long, 1 meter wide and 1.15 meters high, is slightly larger than a twin bed. In spite of their small size, capsule pods come complete with a bed, ventilation fan, light switches, a computer table and power outlets.

The apartment's landlord said: "The regular price to rent a pod per month is HK$4,500, but I can give you a discount if you decided to rent. The lowest price every month is HK$3,800, plus a HK$1,000 deposit," adding that he bought the capsules pods from Micane Technology, a company based in Guangzhou.

The landlord, Wong, who refused to give his full name, said the capsule pods are very popular, and two had already been taken by young workers.

"We provide all the furniture and cleaning services. You don't need to pay an electricity or water bill, or bother to set up Wi-Fi connection. We do everything for you."

A pre-sales consultant from Micane Technology told China Daily that it mainly sells capsule pods to mainland hotels, with each pod starting from 2,990 yuan ($446).

As it's relatively cheap to invest in a hotel in the mainland, the landlords can generally break even in one year.

The launch of capsule pods has aroused safety concerns from the public.

"The SAR Buildings Department has checked our place to make sure we meet the fire safety standard. We are able to lease the pods to the public now," Wong said.

According to Hong Kong's Home Affairs Department, if a tenant's accommodation period is longer than 28 continuous days, the landlord is not required to apply for a license.

It's not the first time that "space capsule pods" have appeared in Hong Kong. As early as 2012, a capsule hotel was about to open in the same district.

The surging house prices and skyrocketing rents in Hong Kong are pushing people to live in subdivided homes or "cage homes". The average monthly rental of subdivided homes ranges from HK$3,500 to HK$10,000, while cage homes were generally priced at HK$2,000 per month.

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