Big plans for 'Baby Bay'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 May, 2011, 12:00am

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Originally intended to be a leisure development, with resort hotels and golf courses, Discovery Bay began life 30 years ago. A population of 16,000 now call the development home - under the sole developer HKR International.

There are about 8,000 units in Discovery Bay. Only 140 or so new apartments or homes come on the market each year.

'We want people to enjoy a higher standard of living so, in future, our new properties will mainly be more than 1,000 sqft,' says Pandora Chan, senior manager of sales and marketing at HKR International. 'Our semi-detached houses will be more than 2,000 sqft. Buyers are mostly expatriates and investors.'

Discovery Bay's nicknames - 'Delivery Bay' and 'Baby Bay' - are the most notable and reflect its popularity among families with young children. The demographics have been shifting, with Hong Kong Chinese and mainlanders increasingly attracted to the area. 'There are more mainland buyers nowadays, especially those who have studied abroad,' Chan adds.

The difference in rents between Discovery Bay and the luxury districts of Hong Kong Island has narrowed. Over the past three years, the 'discount' in Discovery Bay had fallen from 47 per cent to 36 per cent, Savills said in a mid-2010 report.

A 1,311 sqft apartment in Peninsula Village is listed with Midland Realty at HK$30,975 per month, or HK$23 per sqft.

Tony Poon Hing-leung, senior manager at the Discovery Bay branch of Midland Realty, says about half of the apartments are bought by expatriates, with local Chinese making up most of the remaining buyers. On rentals, expats make up as much as 70 per cent of the market.