Kowloon Bay is unique and colourful in many ways. The area is largely reclaimed land on the east end of Kowloon, and the city has retained the strong local flavours and characteristics of old Hong Kong. Even though Kowloon Bay area mostly consists of industrial and commercial establishments, there are three residential complexes. One of them is Telford Gardens, built above the two-storey Telford shopping complex, connected to the Kowloon Bay MTR station, which naturally is a big advantage. It has 21 towers, built in four phases since the early 1980s. Not only is it highly accessible to other parts of Kowloon, it is also very close to western Hong Kong island. Due to the reasonable prices, it is very popular among the local people, especially those working in the neighbourhood. Apartment sizes range from 515 square feet to 670 sq ft, with one or two bedrooms. The average rental price of the apartments is HK$15 per square foot, including the government rates and management fees. Apartments in towers U and N, which afford views of the old Kai Tak airport and Hong Kong Island, fetch as much as HK$18 per square foot. 'The rental market has slipped by about 10 per cent, not as much as the sales market,' said Samuel Sun, the regional manager of Kowloon Bay Centaline Property Agency. He said sales transactions had decreased as much as 30 per cent due to depressed condition of the property market and tough competition from newer estates. The average sale price of the apartments is HK$2,800 per square foot. Telford is popular among families who want to stay close to popular residential areas of Wong Tai Sin and Ngau Tau Kok. Also, Telford Gardens is considered cleaner and newer compared to neighbouring areas. The transport network makes Kowloon Bay convenient as Mongkok and Tsim Sha Tsui are just 20 minutes by minibus while Hong Kong Island is even closer - just a 15-minute ride away on the MTR to Quarry Bay - the east MTR interchange of Hong Kong Island. 'Kowloon Bay is very centralised, like a transit port; there is a high flow of traffic. 'People can take the Dai Lou Shan Tunnel to go to Sha Tin and it is very convenient to shop in this area,' Mr Sun said. The Telford Gardens shopping centre is comprehensive and convenient. It houses major stores such as Wing On Department Store, Marks & Spencer, Esprit and a ParknShop Superstore. Shopping is cheap and varied while entertainment is not lacking. There are two cinemas, a bowling centre, restaurants and pubs. Telford also has an urban council sports complex. Individuals also have the option of joining the private health and fitness club at Telford shopping centre, where there is a wide range of sports facilities, such as a golf driving range, indoor swimming pool, indoor courts and a gymnasium. Together with the residents at Telford Gardens, people living at Richland Gardens, Amoy Gardens and Tak Bo make up the majority of the Kowloon Bay population. The apartments in Richland Gardens, five minutes' walk from the MTR station, range from 470 sq ft to 623 sq ft. Richland Gardens is closer than Telford to the old Kai Tak airport and the light industrial factory area of Ngau Tau Kok, and so prices are lower. On average, the rentals start at HK$13 per square foot. Property sales achieve an average price of HK$2,450 per square foot. Some of the residents are blue-collar workers who work in the nearby garment and electronics factories. According to Marbo Ma, Kowloon Bay area manager at Ricacorp Properties, most of the residents at Richland Gardens are first-time owners who have moved from public housing in neighbouring estates. It was pretty sure they would later move to Telford as their families expanded or as their financial capacity increased, he said. 'There used to be many air stewardesses and aviation staff who lived here but now they have moved. 'Still, there are a number of professionals living in Kowloon Bay who work at the newspapers such as Sing Tao, Imail and the Oriental Daily,' Mr Ma said. Although almost all of the estates are 20 years old, the apartments usually have a higher usable area compared with new developments. 'There will be no loss, in fact perhaps gains, for people who want to buy an apartment here,' Mr Sun said. 'The Government is planning to develop the area near the old Kai Tak airport into an environmentally friendly city. 'The air quality and living environment will improve tremendously then.' Some people find the area overcrowded 'but that is the beauty of it', Mr Ma said. 'It is a love-hate thing. It is safe and you can walk around in the small hours of the morning and there will still be many people around.'