The homes you have to crouch to get in

The tiny house movement has brewing for several years around the world, as people become creative with space to keep accommodation costs low. In Hong Kong, though, some homes have become so tiny that people have to crouch to get in them.

China’s city was ranked the least affordable place to buy a home in a survey by Demographia last year. Comparing several hundred markets around the world, any area with houses costing more than 5.1 times the median income is classed as unaffordable.

Hong Kong house prices were calculated at 19 times the median household income, marking the sixth year in a row that it has been given the ranking of the world’s most expensive property market. In the last five years, the cost of a roof over one’s head has risen by 40 per cent.

In 2017, housing only appears to be getting more expensive, with some apartments being subdivided to cubicle-sized living spaces, according to More than 200,000 are estimated to be living in spaces that are around two square metres – a size that has earned the nickname of “coffin homes” in the media.

Not all tiny units are quite that tiny, though. One developer in Hong Kong attracted headlines last year, with a block of apartments spanning around 12 square metres apiece. Dubbed “gnat flats”, TIME reported that these are still out of reach for many young house-hunters.

“You wouldn’t think [owning a micro apartment is] exceptionally good,” Joe Kok, aged 24, told the magazine. “It is the stuff of dreams for many people. The price of everything just keeps growing exponentially.”