Take the plunge: spacious homes and healthy seaside environment tempt city’s families to move to Tseung Kwan O
Energetic coastal town is close to the countryside and offers a host of leisure facilities, such as Velodrome Park, and is within a 30-minute commute of Central
The quest for a better living environment is drawing city folk away from the urban jungle to the seaside town of Tseung Kwan O.
Agents report that buyers and renters alike can find bigger, newer homes, with more space around them to relax and play than in older, smaller flats in traditional Hong Kong Island and Kowloon locales. The near-record take-up of recent launches shows just how hot this market has become. It also demonstrates the district’s quantum leap from working-class village of old, to sought-after residential neighbourhood of today.
In the 1960s, industrial activities flourished in Tseung Kwan O. Ship building, marine repairs and steel rolling were the main industries, along with fishing of course. These industries were gradually phased out or relocated after 1982, when the government approved the development of Tseung Kwan O as the seventh new town in Hong Kong.
Planning began for a series of major infrastructure projects which would turn the pretty but somewhat remote seaside locale, with limited transport options, to a well-connected, dynamic, modern precinct within 30 minutes of Central. These projects have included construction of the Tseung Kwan O Tunnel, which improved road access, and the arrival of the MTR in 2002.
Meanwhile, the new town taking shape on reclaimed land would include modern housing developments, shopping malls, and leisure facilities.
Jay Wong, chief associate district manager at Midland Realty, says most of the people moving to Tseung Kwan O are looking to upgrade their living quality. “The wide variety of new apartments gives them lots of choices, and excellent leisure facilities.
“People can own a brand-new three- or four-bedroom apartment with an excellent clubhouse here for around the same [price] as an old two-bedroom [unit] with no clubhouse on the island.”
Since most developments have been built within the last 15 years, the town is young and energetic.
“A good transportation network brings people from Central, Tsim Sha Tsui or Sha Tin within half an hour. It is as convenient as Kowloon East – so a lot of people are moving from Taikoo Shing, Lam Tin and Kowloon Bay, to Tseung Kwan O,” he says.
The town has at least 15 shopping malls, providing hundreds of shops, restaurants, supermarkets, and two cinemas. Five shopping malls are connected by footbridge around Tseung Kwan O MTR station, and residents “can reach those places within five minutes of their homes”, Wong says.
Leisure facilities are geared towards family-oriented activities. Tseung Kwan O is home to Hong Kong Velodrome Park, with a large lawn popular for weekend picnics, a skatepark, amphitheatre, jogging track, climbing wall and children’s play areas.
Kilometres of cycling paths lace through the town, and connect to places beyond. Water sports and boat trips may be enjoyed from nearby Clearwater Bay and Sai Kung, and the mountains surrounding the district offer endless hiking trails. The housing mix offers many three- to four-bedroom units which account for about 30 per cent of all stock. Flat sizes average out at around 400 sq ft for one bedroom; two bedroom 400 sq ft to 500 sq ft; three bedroom 500 sq ft to 800 sq ft; and four bedrooms that are more than 800 sq ft. Also available are non-typical flats, such as a duplex and penthouse.
Prominent developments on the market at the moment include Ocean Wings, by Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP), the final new residential development for sale along the central avenue planned for Tseung Kwan O Town Centre. The seafront development consists of seven multiunit buildings and three houses. Slated for completion by 2017, it offers ample choices for families with different housing needs.
Earlier this year, Ocean Wings set a new sale price record at HK$28,500 per square foot, Wong says. The HK$33.599 million paid for the sea view duplex was higher than prices on Island side, he adds.
Wheelock Properties has four residential projects in Tseung Kwan O South – The Parkside, Capri, Savannah and the yet to be launched TKO 126 – collectively branded as “O’South”. The developer says the three launches have received “overwhelming market response”, and Ken Lee Yuk-cheung, principal regional sales director of Centaline Property Agency, agrees that developments of this calibre are sought after. There are “very few units left” in Ocean Wings by SHKP, and Wheelock’s Savannah, which provides 799 flats and five houses, as well as shopping floors and an art-themed central park, he says.
Lee adds that Tseung Kwan O is now into its second generation of residents. Younger people who have grown up in the town don’t tend to leave, and are buying flats of their own.
He cites convenience to the business hubs, seafront location and leisurely lifestyle as compelling features of Tseung Kwan O. “You couldn’t find anything like this in Kowloon,” Lee says.