Where To Live: Ho Man Tin
Ho Man Tin is an upmarket residential neighbourhood in central Kowloon. The area is highly prized for offering a combination of a relatively peaceful living environment, a range of luxury residential developments and convenient access to Kowloon's major shopping zone and transport networks. The area also has one of the best school networks in Hong Kong, making it a much sought-after neighbourhood for families. Historically, Ho Man Tin has a strong expatriate flavour. The area was a focal point for German missionaries before it became a settlement for Portuguese colonialists. Before the first world war, Ho Man Tin's Portuguese population was reputedly the largest non-British expatriate community in Kowloon. This heritage is reflected today in the names of streets in the area. Soares Avenue takes its name from Francisco Paulo de Vasconcelos Soares, a Portuguese property developer who laid down the plans for the Ho Man Tin neighbourhood, while Emma Avenue was named after his wife and Julia Avenue his daughter.
Ho Man Tin has convenient access to major public transport networks. Mong Kok MTR station is a short walk away. And the link could be even closer if plans to build a station in the neighbourhood as part of the proposed Kwun Tong Line extension go through. Residents who need to commute to the mainland regularly can use the nearby Hung Hom KCR station from where through trains run to Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai. Residents with cars who work on Hong Kong Island have convenient access through the Cross-Harbour Tunnel.
Aside from the hustle and bustle of Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui, Mr Chang said residents had two large shopping malls - Langham Place and Festival Walk. For those interested in sports, the venerable Kowloon Cricket Club on Cox's Road has, in addition to its cricket ground, a wide range of sports facilities including a swimming pool complex, tennis courts, squash courts, lawn bowls, tenpin bowling lanes and snooker tables. Public sports facilities include the Leisure and Cultural Services Department's Fat Kwong Street Indoor Games Hall on Good Shepherd Street and the Ho Man Tin Sports Centre on Chung Yee Street. Other places of note in Ho Man Tin include the Gun Club Hill Barracks, next to the cricket club, the Kowloon Central Library on Pui Ching Road, Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Gascoigne Road, and King's Park Sports Ground on Wylie Path.
Luxury residential properties in the Ho Man Tin neighbourhood are concentrated in two pockets on Ho Man Tin Hill Road and in King's Park. The higher elevation of Ho Man Tin Hill Road makes it a prime location for single-block luxury residential property developments that offer unmatched views and quiet surroundings. According to Daniel Chang, senior district manager in Ho Man Tin for Midland Realty, the newest residential property in the area is 15 Ho Man Tin Hill, developed by Kerry Properties. The single block development has 36 residential floors and 69 large units, including five whole-floor apartments. Typical apartment sizes are 2,008 sqft and 2,320 sqft. Mr Chang said transaction prices were in the region of HK$13,000 to HK$20,000 per sqft. A smaller mid-floor unit was recently sold for HK$30 million or HK$14,980 per sqft. Mr Chang said the other luxury residential developments on Ho Man Tin Hill Road were relatively old and market prices were in the range of HK$6,000 to HK$8,000 per sqft. The luxury residential projects in Ho Man Tin Hill Road tend to be single block developments, while those in the King's Park area of Ho Man Tin are big estates. One of the newest developments in this area is the low-rise King's Park Hill development (right). The estate, which was completed in 2000 by Henderson Land, has seven blocks, consisting of 86 apartments each with a gross floor area
of 1,600 sqft to 2,300 sqft, in addition to 42 houses each with a gross floor area of 2,800 sqft to 4,200 sqft. Mr Chang said apartments were selling for about HK$10,000 per sqft while houses were about HK$15,000 per sqft. A recent transaction saw a 1,861 sqft apartment at King's Park Hill sell for HK$20 million, he added. The newest estate in King's Park is Parc Palais, developed by a consortium headed by New World Development. The estate, completed in 2004, has about 700 units in eight blocks, with unit sizes ranging from 1,011 sqft to 2,100 sqft. Mr Chang said market prices were HK$8,000 to HK$11,000 per sqft and a 1,794 sqft apartment on a high floor at Parc Palais recently sold for HK$19.5 million. Mr Chang said a major new residential project coming on stream in Ho Man Tin was Celestial Heights by Cheung Kong (Holdings), due for completion next year. According to Cheung Kong, the estate on Tin Kwong Road will contain 939 units.
Ho Man Tin is close to several prestigious schools. These include the Diocesan Boys' School in Mong Kok and the Wah Yan College, Kowloon in Kowloon Tong, both top-rated secondary schools for boys. Other schools nearby include La Salle College in Kowloon City for boys, Maryknoll Convent School in Kowloon Tong for girls, and Pui Ching Middle School, a co-educational secondary school in Kowloon City. Ho Man Tin is within the catchment area of two English School Foundation schools - King George V School, a co-educational secondary school on Tin Kwong Road, and Kowloon Junior School, a primary school spread across two campuses on Perth Street and Rose Street. International schools in the vicinity of Ho Man Tin include the American International School and the Australian International School, both in Kowloon Tong.