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Hong Kong's poor pay high price for tiny homes

Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - 01:30

Nov. 6 - High housing prices in Hong Kong push the city's poorest to rent tiny subdivided flats in industrial buildings and ''bed homes'' which carry a hefty price tag. Sarah Charlton reports.

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Nestled among Hong Kong's iconic skyscrapers are some of the most expensive properties in the world, with high-class apartments in exclusive areas. But amid the luxury is a darker side to the city's real estate, where poor people are paying a heavy price. In this industrial area, factory buildings have been illegally modified into subdivided flats. Yu Wai-chan is one of 30 people renting rooms in this building - where 180 U.S. dollars buys him a sparse living space. SOUNDBITE: YU WAI-CHAN, 50-YEAR-OLD SUBDIVIDED FLAT RESIDENT, SAYING (Cantonese): "Under normal circumstances, this is not fit for humans to live. I mean, usually this is not a suitable place for normal people to live. But some people, like myself, live here only because the rent is cheap." Around 100,000 people in Hong Kong live in subdivided flats or units known as "bed homes". And with property prices jumping as much as 20 percent in recent months, even rent for these tiny rooms is on the rise. Some residents at this "bed home" have spent decades living with basic amenities. But beds that used to cost just 13 U.S. dollars, are now priced at around 170 dollars. Local officials say by square feet, that's more expensive than luxury housing.

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Hong Kong's poor pay high price for tiny homes

Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - 01:30

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