Rental Costs Soar -- For Cage Homes

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2002

    Rental Costs Soar -- For Cage Homes

    From Asia Times Online :: China News, China Business News, Taiwan and Hong Kong News and Business.

    About 100,000 tenants are now paying for such squalid living space; at times the cages piled one on top of the other, with rents that can be higher than the amounts the city's sun-and-sea lovers hand over for beautiful spacious settings in the upmarket south of Hong Kong Island.

    Cage dwellers are paying up to HK$93.30 (US$12) per square foot, says a report by the Society for Community Organization (SCO), for a space barely big enough for a mattress with wire mesh surrounding it to protect their few possessions. That compares with HK$72 per sq ft monthly rent for a four-bedroom, 3,900 sq ft home at Three Bays, a block of luxury flats in the coastal village of Stanley, according to the website of Centaline, a property company.

    One cage landlord, surnamed Wong, leases out his 700 sq ft flat to 12 cagemen in Sham Shui Po, an aging urban area on Kowloon, the part of Hong Kong on mainland China. Demand for his cage homes is on the rise, due to the financial crisis, he said.

    "The rents are likely to grow as the demand for cage homes is on the increase amidst mounting job losses," said Wong, who is short of sympathy for his tenants' dire circumstances. "The cage homes are better than the streets or living under bridges," he said.
    The median rent for a cage has jumped by more than one-third in the past three years, to HK$60 per sq ft from HK$44.40 in 2006, according to the SCO, and are up from HK$40 in 2004. Some of that increase has come as average prices in Hong Kong's volatile housing market rose about 25% in the eight months to August, according to Centaline.

  2. #2

    That's incredibly depressing.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    "I usually hit my head on the wire and sweat in the 33 degrees [Celsius] heat of the past few weeks," said Cheung, who lives on about HK$3,500 a month in government benefits. "The temperature inside the cages can be two to three degrees higher than what they are outside. It's really uncomfortable, and sometimes I cannot sleep until after 5 in the morning."
    Well, it certainly puts the periodic "can I live on 70k a month" posts into perspective.