A strong interest from expatriates has boosted the leasing of new boutique project 338 Apartment in Sheung Wan, and the operator is raising the rentals. Property manager Fatima Khan said the response had been very positive for the 62-unit serviced apartment building, since its official opening in April. The occupancy rate is 95 per cent. She said about 90 per cent of tenants were expatriates from such countries as the United States, Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. Occupants were mainly singles and couples looking for convenient, quality serviced apartments with flexible tenancy terms, she said. With the economic recovery, multinationals were showing a greater enthusiasm than before for expanding business, and the result was a greater inflow of expatriates, Ms Khan said. She said many companies liked to find serviced apartments for their staff because of the flexible lease terms. 'They do not want to be tied in with long-term leases as the business world is so transient now,' she said. During the initial marketing stage, tenants chose to rent the units on one-month leases to experience the 338 Apartment lifestyle. More than 70 per cent of that initial batch of tenants decided to extend their stay and committed to leases of three months, six months or up to one year. Because of the strong response and the general upward trend in residential rentals, the average rental at 338 Apartment was increased by about 8 per cent this month. 'Overall rental in the residential sector and hotel room rates have gone up,' said Ms Kahn, adding that the rents were reasonable considering the quality and the convenient location. She said the positive market sentiment had allowed room for potential rental increases. 'We will conduct market research regularly to gauge sentiment and review our rents every three months,' she said. The project comprises 61 standard apartments of 547 to 695 square feet, and one penthouse of 1,366 sq ft. All standard apartments are one-bedroom suites, while the penthouse has two bedrooms. Present rents are $17,500 to $21,500 a month. The package includes government rates, electricity, water, gas, management fee, Cable TV and broadband internet access. A room cleaning service is provided three times a week. Located at 338 Queen's Road, the serviced apartment building was previously an office tower. The owner, South Jacob Limited, a mainland-backed company, pushed forward a major conversion to tap the potential of serviced apartments. Armstrong Hotel Management Company has been appointed to market and manage the building. 'The convenient location of 338 Apartment is a major appeal,' Ms Khan said. 'It is minutes away from the Sheung Wan MTR Station, and there are virtually no similar new and modern serviced apartments in the area. Our nearest competing projects are those in Central.' She said the 338 Apartment units were spacious and furnished, and came with unlimited broadband internet access, housekeeping and free self-serviced laundry and drying services.