i: Hong Kong is the world’s most expensive housing market Photograph: Benny Lam
The average living space per person was just 50 sq ft (4.6 sq metres), the equivalent of just half a parking space, a survey of 204 families in one neighborhood by a local residents association found.
That figure is the same as prisoners in local jails, and less than the 75 sq ft of space allocated to inmates in maximum security facilities.
Prices have skyrocketed in recent years, fuelled by mainland Chinese investments in the property market and a government unwilling to take on powerful developers.
These homes range from illegally built rooftop shacks to windowless rooms in what was once an already cramped two bedroom apartment. While Hong Kong’s infamous “coffin homes” garner more attention, subdivided flats are the reality for far more families.
Liu Cheung-wai has lived with his wife and nine-year-old daughter in a two room shack built among a labyrinth of structures on a building rooftop. The builder moved from China five years ago with his family in search of better education for his daughter and higher wages.
“This is all we can afford, many newcomers live in places like this at first,” Liu said. “But I didn’t think we would still be here after so many years.”