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Mainland student forks out record rent for subdivided unit

Top News | Staff reporter and Bloomberg Jan 12, 2018
Staff reporter and Bloomberg

A 110-square-foot subdivided flat in Tseung Kwan O was leased for HK$9,000 a month - or HK$82 per sq ft - the highest psf rent in the district.

Midland Realty said the en suite - rented by a mainland student - was split from a 1,135-sq-ft unit in the Hemera project from Lohas Park phase three, completed by CK Asset Holdings.

The estate agency said utility bills and wi-fi are included in the monthly rate.

The owner bought the flat for HK$10.41 million from the developer in 2015 and is listing another 70-sq-ft room for rent for HK$6,500.

Recent rental deals involved in the development are in the range of HK$24 to HK$29 psf.

Hong Kong hosted 12,037 university students from the mainland - which represented 12 percent of enrollment - during the 2016-17 school year, University Grants Committee statistics show.

When the University of Hong Kong surveyed graduates in 2015, it found that 46 percent of its students from the mainland stayed and worked in the city.

Of those who stick around, many are in the financial services, which accounts for about a third of the long-term work visas for mainland professionals.

In light of the government's measures to cool the firsthand property market, some real estate agencies have turned to grabbing opportunities in the mainland student rental market.

But despite the agents' increased lobbying efforts in the past several months, the available supply of rental units continues to fall far short of demand.

For example, at Smithfield Terrace in Kennedy Town, located near HKU, the number of units available for rent dropped to 30 from the previous 50-60 out of a total of 900 apartments at the site, according to Century 21.

Another housing estate popular with mainland students is Festival City in Tai Wai, where Festival Home Property Agency has handled 40 leasing transactions between May and August, and where a 700-salable-square-foot unit has risen in rent to HK$26,000 per month from HK$24,000 last year, according to account manager Tony Ho Tung-hung.

Ho pointed out that many flat owners tend to lease out their properties temporarily while waiting for the secondary market to improve before they put them up for sale.

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October 2018