ROOM for growth
The Sai Kung property market has been a magnet for investors attracted by good returns on rentals and investments. Many favour the area for its space, child-friendly environment, tranquillity and beauty. But, with ever-increasing asking prices for town and village houses, are the golden days over?
'In the '70s and '80s, pilots working from nearby Kai Tak airport were buying town houses for HK$500,000 and then in 1998 [when the airport moved to Lantau] those houses were sold for HK$8 million to HK$9 million,' says Anne-Marie Sage, head of residential leasing and relocation services at Jones Lang LaSalle.
'Town houses with views are now valued at HK$80 million to HK$90 million on the higher end in locations such as Lobster Bay, and HK$30 million to HK$40 million on the lower end for properties in areas without views.
'For village houses converted into duplexes, you can't find one for less than HK$15 million. 'There are some priced at HK$20 million to HK$25 million without a view.'
But Sage insists there is still room for growth for both town and village properties, especially in the area between Sai Kung town and Sai Kung Country Park, as it has never been fully developed. She says the Sai Kung district is a micro-market and not really affected by what is happening elsewhere in Hong Kong's luxury property market.
Matthew Chung, proprietor of Sunshine Properties in Sai Kung, agrees that the area still has room for growth, pointing out that Sai Kung offers cleaner air, convenience to the city, parks and beaches, and schools. With a new international school being built and plans to widen the roads, families are still flocking to the area.
'We are still seeing families from Hong Kong Island asking about rentals and buys in the Sai Kung and Clear Water Bay areas. Since January, we have completed about 30 transactions ranging from HK$10 million to HK$60 million,' Chung says. 'More Chinese families are buying town houses than ever before, whereas foreigners are more interested in village properties.'
However, one property lawyer recently bought a town house in Tai Po after looking in the Sai Kung district. 'Although my family prefers Clear Water Bay and Sai Kung, properties are overpriced, which is OK if you plan to live in the property but not for investment purposes,' he says.