The hills are alive
The landscape in Southern District is one of the best preserved in Hong Kong. Greenery is everywhere and the panoramic waterfront is spectacular. Nevertheless, with a hilly terrain and narrow roads, it is not an easy place to build in, and prime properties rarely appear on the market.
When the Jockey Club decided to put its 11,640 sq ft site on Lynx Hill in Deep Water Bay Road up for tender, the market held its breath. When the deal was struck, it was reported that the plot was sold for a cool HK$888 million, at HK$10,180 per square foot. The site could be built into 8,730 sq ft.
There are also reports that the developers of Redhill Peninsula, Chinachem and Sino Land, are planning to sell 51 houses and 120 luxury apartment units, with an estimated total value of HK$7 billion.
The co-owners have been holding the properties for rent for more than 20 years.
'When we talk about premium housing in the Southern District, we mean Shouson Hill Road, Redhill Peninsula, Repulse Bay, Deep Water Bay, Stanley and Shek O. The range may sound large, but big projects are few and far between,' says Kenneth Chiu, sales director of The Peak and Island South division at Ricacorp Properties.
'Due to the unique geographical attributes, land supply is very limited in the Southern District, while demand is strong. This explains why new records for houses are set, one after another.'
Since the government started increasing land supply to catch up with the growing demand for residential units, the district has begun to change.
'Bel Air, Larvotto and Marinella in Aberdeen have bridged the gap and became popular as soon as they were put on the market. It's clear that demand for apartments is expanding quickly,' Chiu says.
Wilson Chan, sales and marketing director of K. Wah International, which jointly developed Marinella with Sino Group, says the project enjoys a great sea view, good international school network and proximity to Aberdeen Marina Club.
'To address different market needs, there are eight apartment sizes in Marinella. For example, the 700 sq ft one-bedroom units are in response to market demand,' Chan says.
Houses no longer always sell for more than apartments in terms of price per square foot.
Stephen Li, Midland Realty's Stanley branch manager, recently sold a 4,212 sq ft house at Regalia Bay, Stanley, for HK$75 million, or HK$17,800 per square foot.
A 1,689 sq ft unit at Marinella was sold for HK$44.76 million, or HK$26,500 per square foot.
The new generation of luxury homes enjoys not only sea views, but also modern clubhouse facilities. Bel Air, now a benchmark for luxury property prices, offers apartments and town houses.
In January, the government put a residential site at Ap Lei Chau in Aberdeen up for tender.
China Oversea won the site for HK$25.38 billion, or HK$11,000 per square foot, which was above market expectations.