FRUSTRATED BY the tight supply of luxury apartments for lease on Hong Kong Island, some tenants are switching their focus to Kowloon to find accommodation, according to property agent Luxury Rental. Marketing manager Michael Fung said the high occupancy rate driven by strong demand had effectively reduced the stock available on the market on Hong Kong Island. 'More people are looking at alternatives in Kowloon because they cannot find suitable properties on Hong Kong Island,' he said. New residential projects at Kowloon Station and the traditional luxury residential district in Ho Man Tin were among the choice locations, he said. The luxury residential market had been bolstered by increased demand from the growth of overseas companies setting up their regional headquarters and offices in Hong Kong, Mr Fung said. 'More companies from Asian countries such as Singapore are coming to Hong Kong. More expatriates are arriving in town, providing a booster to demand for luxury apartments,' he said. 'We have also seen more companies from Europe such as Germany and the Netherlands interested in exploring business opportunities amid the improved economic prospects here.' Mr Fung said with the better business and economic sentiment, leasing demand had picked up comfortably with the arrival of more expatriate executives to help multinational companies expand. 'In addition to banks and finance companies, IT companies, trading firms and fashion retailers have stepped up expansion efforts and brought in more staff,' he said. Leasing activity has been fluctuating throughout the year partly due to seasonal factors. Mr Fung said the leasing market had been quiet but the momentum was returning. The number of prospective tenants viewing flats was expected to increase in the coming month. As confidence in the economy returned, local families were showing an interest in renovating their homes, which also helped boost leasing demand, especially for serviced apartments as temporary accommodation, he said. Wincome Management Consultants business development and operations manager Gary Cheung Lai-wan said the demand for serviced apartments had grown significantly as the economy improved and the number of mainland tourists and business travellers visiting Hong Kong increased. 'The market has been very active in recent months. The number of business travellers coming to Hong Kong has increased as many came to join major trade fairs,' she said. Ms Cheung said Wincome's serviced apartment project, Central 88, had been well received and many people were keen to move in. The project, in core Central, has 78 furnished serviced apartments - one-bedroom and two-bedroom units - available at monthly rents of $22,000 to $54,000. 'Our all-in-one rental package and prime location are attractions to customers,' she said. Ninety per cent of tenants in Central 88 are expatriates, mostly leasing for three to six months. 'We have seen more people showing an interest in leasing for a longer period, say eight to nine months while some tenants also renew leases with us,' she said. To increase the project's competitiveness, the group plans to introduce new lifestyle services next year. These include discount offers on shopping, dining and spa services, and arranging activities such as wine tasting and boat trips.