Global Observer

Hong Kong to get its first retirement communities

Hong Kong to get its first retirement communities

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HONG KONG -- A new housing plan lets retirees pay a one-time rent on a sliding scale based on age. The average rent: $400,000.

Seniors look happy, healthy and boozy in the brochure

HONG KONG — The Hong Kong Housing Society, a non-governmental organization, has devised a new housing plan for well-off retirees. They would pay one-time rents averaging around $400,000, and get to live in their flats for the rest of their lives.

The older the tenant, the cheaper this lump sum will be. More than 1,500 such flats will be completed by 2016, and they will range from 500 sq. ft. to 1,300 sq. ft. People aged 60 years or older are eligible to apply for one of these apartment.

The homes, which are being built as two different properties in Hong Kong, will be designed to suit the elderly with a wellness center, rehabilitation center and nursing home.

Society Chairman Yeung Ka-sing said at a press event that a 74-year-old would have to pay about $400,000 for a 500-sq-ft apartment.

Hong Kong’s aging population, compounded with a housing crunch, has created a concern over the quality of life for retirees. Although nursing homes abound, the city does not currently have retirement communities where entire properties are purpose-built for the elderly.

As can be expected, the scheme has been criticized for catering to a wealthier segment of the elderly.

The communities, called Joyous Living, will offer partial refunds for ending a long lease (meaning one that lasts until death) early. Officials say there might be a refund if a resident dies unexpectedly early. But these details have yet to be hashed out.

Photo: Joyous Living

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Vanessa Ko

Correspondent (Hong Kong)

Vanessa Ko has written for TIME, South China Morning Post and Phnom Penh Post. She holds degrees from Northwestern University and the University of Hong Kong. She is based in Hong Kong, China. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure