Best of both worlds
C K Lam
Kowloon Tong's Garden City concept was the brainchild of British architect Ebenezer Howard. He envisaged homes that enjoy the convenience of a metropolis, and the serenity and beauty that nature offers.
Buildings would not be taller than 12.6 metres, and the number of properties was strictly controlled to ensure a low-density residential environment. These rules continue to this day, and no other district in Kowloon can compete in terms of luxury and spacious living.
'A lot of renowned entrepreneurs reside in Kowloon Tong, while the middle class and professionals are mostly in Ho Man Tin,' says Sandia Lau Ying-lam, Centaline Property Agency's director of residential flats in Kowloon.
'Hong Kong and mainland entrepreneurs, who own businesses on the mainland and need to travel back and forth daily, prefer Kowloon Tong because it is so convenient. New apartments cost HK$16,000 to HK$17,000 per square foot, while older apartments cost about HK$10,000 per square foot. Prices in Kowloon Tong have consistently shown an extraordinary resistance to fluctuations.
'One of the key attractions is schools. Diocesan Preparatory School, La Salle Primary School and Maryknoll Convent School are among the most sought-after.'
Although most properties are low-rise buildings, new projects now include impressive towers, such as Forfar by Wing Tai Properties, with 43 units, each with an area in excess of 2,000 sqft.
On College Road, 8 College is a new property offering seven 'vertical houses', starting at 2,400 sqft.
Also coming onto the market is Wheelock Properties' Kadoorie Hill on Prince Edward Road West, which is within walking distance of Grand Century Place, a modern shopping mall connected to an MTR station. The developer says the major attractions of the 66-unit project are its four-bedroom units.
'Kadoorie Hill is an oasis in the city. The 1,900 to 2,000 sqft units with four bedrooms will enjoy refreshing green views. Since the government had set a height limit in the district, owners can rest assured that the view will remain intact. The nearby Birds' Street [Hong Lok Street] and Flower Market add a special local favour to Kadoorie Hill,' says Ricky Wong Kwong-yiu, managing director of Wheelock Properties.
Another luxury development is One Mayfair by Sino Land on the exclusive Broadcast Drive. It is made up of six 10-storey-towers, ranging from 1,300 to 3,000 sqft.
'We tailor each property to the demand of each location. Apartments in One Mayfair start from about 1,300 sqft, which is what end users are looking for,' says Victor Tin, general manager of sales at Sino Land. Prices start from HK$16,000 per square foot, but individual units can go up to HK$30,000 per square foot.
As for new town houses, No 1 Oxford Road, developed by China Overseas, consists of 12 houses, each at more than 7,000 sqft. Number 15 Ho Man Tin Hill is among the most pricey in the district at HK$20,000 per square foot, while individual units can go up to HK$37,000 per square foot.