Hong Kong "cage home" rents soar above luxury flat

HONG KONG Wed Apr 28, 2010 7:00pm IST

A former cage home resident sleeps in a caged-bed displayed on a street at Hong Kong's financial Central district as a gesture to bring public awareness to the poor in the territory April 29, 2009. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

A former cage home resident sleeps in a caged-bed displayed on a street at Hong Kong's financial Central district as a gesture to bring public awareness to the poor in the territory April 29, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Bobby Yip

Related Topics

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong's so called "cage men" may be among the city's poorest, but rents per square foot for their dingy wire-mesh cubicles are now on a par with luxury flats in the city's famed Peak district.

With Hong Kong property prices soaring and urban redevelopment shrinking the supply of older, cheaper tenement blocks, thousands of cage men living in 15-square-foot cubicles, usually crammed eight to a room, are being squeezed even more.

Sze Lai-shan of the Society for Community Organisation said rents for the city's cage homes had risen around 20 percent over the past year, with some cages renting for up to HK$1,500 ($193.20).

On a square-foot basis, such rents exceed those of some mansions in Hong Kong's exclusive Peak district where many local tycoons reside.

"There have been rental price rises all the time," said Sze. "It's more expensive than the Peak district, which is about HK$30-40 per square foot."

While the financial hub of Hong Kong enjoys a reputation as one of Asia's most affluent cities, its wealth gap is among the worst in Asia, with around 100,000 of the city's 7 million people living in tiny units of less than 60 square feet, according to Sze.

"The government doesn't really have a perspective for helping these people," said Sze, who called on the government to build more public housing and to ban such cage home dwellings.

Hong Kong's government says that public housing is available with an average waiting time of 1.9 years for general family applicants and 1.2 years for the elderly. There is also short-term assistance available for people who need housing immediately.

"People choose to live in bedspace apartments and cubicles probably because these apartments are mostly conveniently located in the urban areas," said a government spokesman.

According to Jones Lang LaSalle research, the value of luxury and mass residential property in Hong Kong rose 8.1 percent and 9.7 percent respectively in the first quarter.

FILED UNDER:
  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

SAARC Summit

REUTERS SHOWCASE

SAARC Summit

SAARC Summit

Modi gives Buddha a miss as SAARC leaders flock to Nepal.  Full Article 

Reuters Exclusive

Reuters Exclusive

U.S. to leave more troops in Afghanistan than first planned - sources.  Full Article 

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine reports new arrivals of Russian supplies for eastern rebels.  Full Article 

Nuclear Iran

Nuclear Iran

Extended Iran nuclear talks leave bomb investigation in limbo.  Full Article 

Ebola Crisis

Ebola Crisis

Sierra Leone Ebola burial workers dump bodies in pay protest.  Full Article 

FARC Rebels

FARC Rebels

Colombia's FARC free two soldiers in step to restart peace talks.  Full Article 

Tunisia Politics

Tunisia Politics

Tunisian secularist wins first presidential round, heads for run-off.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage