Regulation on minimum home size in London

Subject: development, housing

Tag Cloud
Recent developments on flat size policy in Hong Kong
Regulation on minimum home size in London
Concluding remarks
Prepared by Germaine LAU
Research Office
Information Services Division
Legislative Council Secretariat
24 March 2022

  1. "Nano flats" are often understood as flats with a saleable area smaller than 20 m2. See Rating and Valuation Department (various years).
  2. During 2016 to 2021, the issue of nano flats was discussed six times in Council meetings, twice by the Panel on Financial Affairs, and once by the Panel on Development and at a Special Financial Committee meeting. Most recently, a motion debate on "Reforming the housing policy to resolve the housing problem" was held at the Council meeting during 14-15 July 2021. The motion urged the Government to, among other housing-related proposals, formulate a standard for the average living space per person. A Member further moved a motion amendment for setting a minimum flat size. See Legislative Council (2021).
  3. Appolloni et al. (2021) and Sheridan et al. (2014).
  4. The figures for Hong Kong and Singapore are medians while the others are mean averages. See Clay (2017), OECD (2018), Statistics of Tokyo (2019), Greater London Authority (2020), Statistics Singapore (2021) and 台北市主計處(2021).
  5. Hong Kong Baptist University (2017), Sing et al. (2020) and Liber Research Community (本土研究社) (2020).
  6. Figures for 2021 and 2022 are estimates. See JLL (2022) and Hong Kong Economic Journal (信報) (2022).
  7. The cap for 90% loan-to-value mortgages was raised to HK$8 million in October 2019 and further to HK$10 million recently in February 2022.
  8. In the 2010-2011 Budget, the Government announced to introduce requirements on the minimum number of flats and the range of size of such units in the land sale conditions for selected land sites, with a view to increasing the supply of small and medium-sized flats. No such land sites have been offered by the Government since late 2014. See Ming Pao (明報) (2021).
  9. Planning Department (2021b).
  10. Legislative Council (2021).
  11. Take 4-person public housing units for example, the size will be raised from about 37.2 m2 to about 44.6 m2 after a 20% home space enhancement. See Development Bureau (2021a).
  12. The Government explained that the limit of 26 m2 was set with reference to the minimum flat size of 23 m2 for the Starter Homes for Hong Kong Residents pilot project in Kwun Tong. The former is slightly larger because private housing is deemed "one rung up" the housing ladder. See GovHK (2021) and Development Bureau (發展局) (2021a-c).
  13. GovHK (2022).
  14. In recent years, private redevelopment projects accounted for a major share of nano flat supply. For flats below 26 m2, the figure over the past four years was as high as 69%. See Liber Research Community (本土研究社) (2020), Our Hong Kong Foundation (團結香港基金) (2018) and Ming Pao (明報) (2022).
  15. South China Morning Post (2021).
  16. 劉勵超(2022).
  17. The London Plan is a statutory spatial development strategy made by the Greater London Authority, setting out the economic, environmental, housing, transport and social framework for development in the next 20-25 years. It is binding on local authorities responsible for making decisions on planning applications. See Greater London Authority (2021c).
  18. The study was conducted by a housing consultancy, covering topics such as trends in dwelling sizes, experiences of introducing minimum space standards elsewhere, views of stakeholders, assessment of possible implementation mechanisms, and a cost/benefit analysis. See HATC (2006).
  19. The process of establishing minimum home sizes was briefly interrupted by a change of government in 2008 but was eventually completed as the new government still broadly supported the initiative. See Park (2017).
  20. At that time, the UK did not have national dwelling space standards. The most significant national standard (with a minimum size of 29.7 m2) was adopted only for public housing in 1961, but even this was abolished by the then prime minister (Mrs Margaret Thatcher) in 1980 on the grounds of costs savings. However, following London's standards, the UK government in 2015 introduced a similar Nationally Described Space Standard, but it is optional for local governments to use. See HATC (2006) and Park (2017).
  21. The Standard in 2011 initially only covered homes of sizes up to four-bedroom and six persons, but was extended in 2016 and 2021 to cover six-bedroom, eight-person homes in line with the Nationally Described Space Standard introduced in 2015. See Greater London Authority (2011, 2016, 2021c).
  22. Greater London Authority (2021c).
  23. HATC (2006) and Greater London Authority (2021c).
  24. Greater London Authority (2012).
  25. HATC (2006).
  26. HATC (2006) and Greater London Authority (2021c).
  27. Greater London Authority (2020).
  28. Centre for Cities (2020).
  29. Greater London Authority (2021a).

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