Hong Kong’s co-living operators cut monthly rates by up to 50% amid the outbreak

In hopes of increasing occupancy as the population observes social distancing 

Wan Chai district, Hong Kong. psgxxx/Shutterstock

According to the South China Morning Post, shared living operators in Hong Kong have decided to reduce their monthly fees by 50 percent as more people abide by the social distancing protocol during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We offer 30 to 50 percent discounts for our units in different locations,” shared Zeta Yung, co-founder of The Cube Group, which operates about 80 rooms in Kowloon and Hong Kong.

Cube’s co-living spaces reported 50 percent fewer occupancy since February when the city confirmed its first coronavirus case on 22 January. To control the spread, the local government introduced containment measures, from closing the border with mainland China to encouraging both government and private employees to work from home to limiting four diners per table in restaurants.

Just last week, the government restricted non-resident foreigners from transiting through or entering the city following an increase in the number of imported coronavirus cases.

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With discounts provided by Cube, tenants now pay between HKD4,500 (USD580) to HKD7,000 per month for units measuring more than 80 square feet. For this size, they will get their own bedroom, but would have to share the kitchen, bathroom and other living spaces.

“All in all, the demand is still there but there is a shift from the expat-dominant base to more local inquiries for us with the immigration restrictions,” said Aaron Lee, founder of Dash that runs 87 units in Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui.

For units of between 100 and 350 square feet, Dash now charges HKD10,000 to HKD25,000 after discount.

Hmlet, another co-living operator, revealed that they have “chosen to be flexible with our members as much as we can” if they prefer to change their accommodation during the outbreak or leave Hong Kong earlier than planned.