50-foot ‘coffin homes’ and an £87 million townhouse deal highlight the scale of inequality in Hong Kong

    House prices in Hong Kong are among the highest in the world, but it’s also one of the world’s most unequal cities. Its poorest residents have been priced out of the property market: Hong Kong’s poor residents have just 50 square feet of living space per person, according to a new study. This week, a palatial four-bedroom house in the city’s exclusive Peak district was sold for a record £87 million ($148.7 million).

LONDON – House prices in Hong Kong are among the highest in the world, but there’s a dark side to its property boom.

A new survey of 204 families in one neighbourhood, cited in the Guardian, found Hong Kong’s poor residents have just 50 square feet of living space per person on average. That is the equivalent of half a car-parking space, and less space than prisoners in the city-state’s maximum security jails enjoy.

Perhaps the grimmest illustration of Hong Kong’s housing shortage is its “coffin homes,” the poorly-lit, minuscule, and often unhygienic apartments occupied by its very poorest citizens.

READ MORE: Terrifying, first-person photos show the claustrophobic conditions inside Hong Kong’s ‘coffin cubicles’

The survey illustrates the stark contrast between the living conditions of rich and poor in Hong Kong, one of the world’s most unequal cities. On Wednesday, a palatial four-bedroom house in the exclusive Peak district was sold for £87 million ($148.7 million), Reuters reported.

While not all properties are quite so expensive, property prices continue to spiral, and a recent UBS report found a skilled service worker would need to work 20 years to afford a modest 650 square foot flat near the city centre, the longest time-period from a list of 20 leading cities.