Q: We live in the New Territories. My son gained admission to the University of Hong Kong so we are thinking about renting a flat in the neighbourhood so that he does not need to travel a long way to university every day. We prefer a flat to a university dormitory because he can then enjoy more privacy and can concentrate on his studies. It may also provide a place for his brother to stay in when he is in town. What are the options in the market?
A: Monthly rents of two-bedroom flats in the area range between HK$10,000 and HK$30,000. In large and new housing estates such as Island Crest and The Belcher's, monthly asking rents are between HK$32 and HK$35 per square foot.
If you are looking for a small flat, you could consider Smithfield Terrace in Kennedy Town or Kwong Fung Terrace at Third Street. A 370 sqft in Smithfield Terrace is on the market at a rent of just HK$10,000 a month.
Patrick Chow is head of research at Ricacorp Properties.
Q: I'm interested in buying a three-bedroom flat at Hanley Villa in Sham Tseng. The asking price is more than HK$4.6 million, or HK$4,800 per square foot. Price increases in the area have lagged behind other districts in recent years.
I plan to buy for my own use, but also am looking for a capital value gain in the longer term. Do you think a flat at Hanley Villa would be a good investment? Will prices there drop more than in other districts once the property market enters a down cycle?
A: It's true that price growth at Hanley Villa has lagged behind increases in other districts. But any fall in prices in the district would also be lower than in first-tier estates such as City One Shatin, since most owners at Hanley Villa are end-users. If you are looking for a higher upside, you should consider estates such as Belvedere Garden and Bayview Garden. These are popular, transactions are active and capital value growth would be higher than Hanley Villa.
Sammy Po is a director at Midland Realty.
Q: I own a three-bedroom Home Ownership Scheme flat in Wong Tai Sin. I want to sell it and buy a private housing flat in Kowloon. I know that the government will waive the land premium for buying a second-hand HOS flat early next year.
Do you think prices of HOS flats will rise sharply at that time? Will the move boost the prices of private housing further? I'm looking for private housing with a high efficiency rate. Do you have any suggestions?
A: Three-bedroom HOS flats in Wong Tai Sin cost more than HK$3 million, which means they will not be eligible for the land premium waiver, which will apply only to flats worth HK$2.85 million or less. Therefore, the price rise for your flat may be limited. You may consider flats at Regent on the Hill in the district. A three-bedroom, 932 sq ft flat in this estate is selling for HK$5.8 million, or above HK$6,000 per square foot. It has a high efficiency rate of 78 per cent. After selling your HOS flat, you may need HK$3 million for a new home.
Kim Chan Shek-kam is a sales managerat Fullmark Property Agency