Inside Hong Kong’s cage homes

Inside Hong Kong’s cage homes

When houses are the size of parking spaces.
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With original music by Tom Fox:

Hong Kong is the most expensive housing market in the world. It has been ranked as the least affordable housing market on Earth for eight years in a row, and the price per square foot seems to be only going up. The inflated prices are forcing Hongkongers to squeeze into unconventionally small spaces that can affect their quality of life.

Tens of thousands of Hongkongers are living in spaces that range from 75 to 140 square feet. To put that in perspective, the average parking space in the US is about 150 square feet. And in the most extreme cases, Hongkongers have resorted to homes the size of a coffin.

I spent some time exploring the living situation in Hong Kong to find out why housing has become so expensive and spaces so tight.

To understand how Hong Kong’s housing market turned out this way and see how it’s affecting people’s lives, watch the final episode of Borders Hong Kong.

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85 Responses

  1. Matilda Martin says:

    That’s very sad they need to build housing ASAP for their will be a wide spread of disease because of the cramped conditions.

  2. The Young Filmmaker says:

    Absolutely awesome work Johnny! Sad story however

  3. devodid says:

    This is actually worse than prison

  4. winston li says:

    Former Chief Executive of Hong Kong Tung Chee-Hwa tire once by supply 85000 government-subsidized public housing per year in 19997 which cause the overinflated price to drop up to 70%. the overly high housing loan prior to that made many people that bought the house negative equity(losing money). The public was not happy and demand him to terminate those houses and hand over the resignation letter, he did and no one fxxking dares try to lower the housing price anymore.

    • Ha An Pham says:

      Hmm, this is the most interesting comment thread of the video!! David , Winston, I’d love to see the truth

    • Anony Lee says:

      The 85000 plan is partly executed. In 2000, 85710 units built under the plan was completed. In 2001, the num reached 100000. Many transit-oriented developments also followed the plan.
      Asian financial crisis is the reason for “significant” price drop doesn’t mean that the 85000 plan didn’t help stabilizing the housing price. As a counterexample, only 19800 units were built in 2010, & next year the price exceeded the asset bubble point in Oct 1997. Termination of the plan terminated a good tool to sustain the stability of HK housing price.
      Housing price should & can be controlled. As an offshore financial center like HK, Singapore reaches #2 in “index of economic freedom” according to the video above, while it is not even in the “least affordable housing markets” list. Unfortunately, HK has neither a gov that is strong enough to stand up against real estate speculators, nor enough people that give strong support to people who really support them.

    • RzGarage says:

      Oh a few rich communist Chinese fxxks who own a house which bought with his corrupted money complaints, then the government is so afraid to lower the price?
      A normal citizen dont have the power to ask the Chief Executive to resign, because they ask the last CEO CY leung to resign since the first day he took office, and he stays on, and this terms Carry Lam, also still in power even everyone is asking her to resign

      the HK goverment is all for the Chinese, never for real Hongkonger.

    • THE COOL GUY HERE says:

      Hongkong is a shithole, if any rich communist Chinese wants to buy good houses, the city beside HK is the best choice. Hongkong is too crowded, they deserve it because their democracy rejected the one child policy. Now mainland enjoys the benefit of balanced population while HK struggles in democracy trying to find a solution.

    • winston li says:

      is not simply one reason it’s the combination of many factor. as hk economic stastus contineu drops, what ever the gove does would be deemed unfit.

  5. Kevin Pinner says:

    I lived in one of these right across the border in Shenzhen for 3 months. It was a two bedroom apartment that had been chopped into six separate apartments with their own doors. Definitely was during a low point in my life, but it helped me sympathize with people who can’t afford to move out.

  6. Melissa0774 says:

    It’s a human dog kennel. They should call them kennel apartments.

  7. namerer er says:

    Best series ever

  8. Brandflakes says:

    Being an American with a decent sized house and coming to Hong Kong to visit family that owns a 2 bedroom apartment was intriguing at first. They told me about how housing was expensive and space, in general, was expensive. But I didn’t know it was this outrageously expensive. The average cost of a place for a person making an average (American) income in HK, cost them nearly 20 times their annual income?! That’s crazy! I also didn’t know that Hong Kong has the least affordable housing market. This really opened my eyes and kind of humbled me. Now I realize my grandparents owning a 2 bedroom apartment is a bigger deal than I thought it to be.

    • fieldy409 says:

      CrispyTurtle Because the comments sections of videos are meant for sharing your thoughts on a video. And its not up to you to declare nobody cares its about the likes saying if anybody cares to see it.

    • Hilary Lui says:

      Brandflakes That’s also the same for me! It’s honestly so sad my Aunt, Uncle, Adult cousin, and Grandma all have to live in a two bedroom apartment that isn’t even as big as my living room! It just makes you want to scoop them up and bring them here where they can live a better life!

    • Owen Bollard says:

      CrispyTurtle The 60 people who like his comment?

    • YoItsSoup says:

      Rata 4U I’m in Vancouver too. We are the second least affordable place in the world behind Hong Kong. My relatives all live in Hong Kong and when they came to visit, they were surprised by how cheap housing here was.

    • MC_Master says:

      Guess what both places have? Lots and, I mean, *LOTS* of Chinese immigrants. Not the downtrodden variety, the type who hogs up all the land with their government-backed ventures and then lease it to the local people at extortionate prices.

  9. Blue Hearthstone says:

    I’d just go and start living in those forests instead of those cages

  10. Daniela L says:

    So hilarious that some YouTuber claimed themselves as minimalist living in huge apartment having tons of white furniture and decors. Look at those people who live in cage, THEY ARE minimalist. Such crazy world

  11. Nada Majdy says:

    These cage homes are my idea of an apocalyptic dystopia! I pray for each soul that has to live in these.

    • Lord Canti says:

      Z you have a child’s understanding of religion and your argument against it is so poorly thought out it barely seems a response. I say that as an atheist. You assume all religions in modern times still believe the creation stories as literal. Take the jesuits for instance, a sect of Catholicism, who view the creation stories as myth that give us insight into god. And your first shitty point which boils down to bad stuff happens thus no god is addressed repeatedly in holy texts. Here’s an idea, maybe actually study just one holy text in a modern way then speak. You seem to know very little besides stereotypes of religion and spirituality. Again I don’t even believe, but I know enough not to completely deride the concept of god based on my shower thoughts.

    • Bee BlaQ Widow says:

      Do these Asians realize they are apart of the human species? Why are two white men in positions of power when this is a Asian country? Do white men control this country too? Why is this system allowed to exist? Why are these Asian ppl allowing for the greed of their leaders to pack them up like sardines? Tribes in the wild live better than this. Why does ppl in these commnets think they know everything and making excuses for this as of this is humane? I’ve seen a better system in Japan. Ants live better. Did multiculturalism cause this lack of room for the Asian population to live in space among themselves? What I am seeing here looks like something from the twilight zone. Why would the Asian inventor make such useless tiny sleeping cages for the tiny space that isn’t suitable for a human to live in? These ppl actually pay money to live in a closet? Are these ppl drugged up, posioned, mentally ill, or something altering their brain? Everybody keep talking about money when money is artificial and shouldn’t even exist. Human labor is the money. If this doesn’t say the system is extremely flawed and a fail then Idk what will? Are these real human beings or obedient clones? I am confused bc no real human being will tolerate this nonsense.

    • Lorenzo Bolla de Oliveira says:

      +Anggita Bhagawad This reminds me of DMC, from Neo Scavenger.

    • Richard Wyant says:

      I’d live in one if they had them here. Simple to clean, I mostly sleep at home so all I need is a place to lay my head. Thoreau would have loved this idea. Especially useful for the poor and homeless. Great idea!

    • Green Plasticbag says:

      WHY? someone has convinced that you need more than this to live.

  12. Desmond moonbear says:

    Enyone notice the Bentley continental in the background

  13. yoga divayana says:

    The irony of freedom, you spend 8 hours everyday in a caged office doing something you probably hate to pay another cage you sleep in for another 8 hours…

  14. Jones Laura [JLTube] says:

    What? Destroy all the green and build buildings???

  15. Schatten Licht says:

    Real Cyberpunk

  16. Sierra Long says:

    … I wouldn’t even call those studio apartments… they’re living in closets.

  17. Jesus In Taiwan says:

    Great video and music! Your work is very inspirational!

  18. Sheldon Evans says:

    I made some friends in HK when I traveled there last year and they recently came to visit me here in South Africa. They were shocked to see the kind of homes you can get here for what would be considered a breadbox there.

    • MC_Master says:

      Miles Chan 
      You do realize the only reason South Africa is as developed as it is, is because your *white people* came in and made some drastic changes, right? Sure there were downsides but apartheid was over half a century ago, blaming *current* issues on that is just iditotic

    • Nhlanhla Mathe says:

      MC_Master lmao, there are damn near 60 million people in SA. Gets the largest asylum applications in the world outside the EU. STFU

    • Kawaii Commie says:

      Sheldon Evans that’s because South Africa is about to be more impoverished then Somalia

    • Sam guevenne says:

      no apartheid ended 92 do you think you can get an entire population that was barred from developement up to speed in 20 odd years white people were the problem and they have been standing in the way of progress long enough they should share what their families stole!

    • Justin Noker says:

      Wonder how they’d react to that one Mansion (was something like 15 bedrooms big) that sold for only $50K in North Dakota

  19. Gay Boi Link says:

    Mao Zedong is rolling in his grave. This is why we need communism! #BringBackMaoZedong

  20. quantum chicken says:

    That’s just another word for” Jail for the innocent”…

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