New Territories North and West offer a haven for Hongkongers looking for more laid-back lifestyle
Houses and high-rises have replaced fish ponds and farmland as people move in from the more densely populated areas of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon
Spanking new buildings have transformed parts of the northwestern New Territories from rural to urban. But the laid-back lifestyle still makes the area a haven for those fleeing the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong Island.
Kingswood Villas in Tin Shui Wai was one of the first luxury properties in the area. “The development of Kingswood Villas thoroughly changed the face of an otherwise unknown rural area,” says Charlie Xue of City University’s department of architecture and civil engineering.
Because of its remote location, he says, Kingswood Villas offers some of the lowest priced private housing in Hong Kong and attracts lower middle-class residents to the ranks of homeowners.
Originally a fish pond several kilometres away from the border, the site was developed by Cheung Kong in seven phases.
From 1991 to 1998, 58 residential towers with 15,800 living units were built on 40 hectares of land. There is a shopping mall, Fortune Kingswood, a five-star hotel and a transport interchange, which connects the development to Kowloon and Hong Kong Island.
In the past year, property prices in Kingswood Villas have shot up by 10 per cent to 12 per cent and first-time buyers, who previously would have looked at Tsuen Wan, are now considering Tin Shui Wai.
Another area that used to be just fish ponds and farmland is Yuen Long, a 15-minute drive from the border crossing at Lok Ma Chau.
Houses and high-rises have sprung up over the past two decades, as people have moved in from the more densely populated areas of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.
Two of the biggest developments in Yuen Long are Fairview Park and Palm Springs. Sun Hung Kai Properties developed Yoho Town, a huge housing and shopping centre, more recently. The first phase comprising 2,200 residential units in nine blocks, was built in 2004. Phase 2, renamed Yoho Midtown, was finished in 2010 and consists of residential buildings and a commercial centre. Phase 3 is yet to be completed.
The asking price for a 972 sq ft unit in Yoho Midtown was raised by HK$1 million to HK$12 million at the end of last year, a record for the northwestern New Territories.
Other new luxury developments in Yuen Long include Crescendo, by CK Property.
In partnership with Nan Fung and the MTR Corporation, Cheung Kong has also developed Ocean Pride, next to Tsuen Wan West MTR station.
Demand was so great that Cheung Kong speeded up the launch of the second phase of the Tsuen Wan project. It named it “Ocean Supreme” to reflect that the 1,436 units are of a superior quality: All of the two-, three- and four-bedroom units will have sea views.
Just one week after selling all 842 units, the developer announced in July this year that it would raise the price of the 122 units in its third batch of flats by 10 per cent. William Kwok, a director of the wholly-owned subsidiary Cheung Kong Real Estate, says the asking price after a 20 per cent discount would range from HK$12,700 to HK$22,000 per square foot, 2 per cent to 10 per cent higher than earlier launches.
Some units at Pavilia Bay, also in Tsuen Wan, have been priced at HK$20,000 per sq ft.
Meanwhile, Tuen Mun, planned as a satellite city with a high concentration of public housing, has become a residential area with a mix of luxury, sea-view properties and affordable, low-density housing.
Property developer Vanke Hong Kong is working on a new property project in So Kwun Wat in Tuen Mun.
This project will be the first fully developed residential project launched by Vanke. It is expected to be launched during the first half of 2018 and will provide more than 1,000 units. Vanke’s residential project is surrounded by the Tai Lam Chung Reservoir and Tai Lam mountains, better known as the Thousand Island Lake.
Close to some of Hong Kong’s international schools, such as Harrow International School, Tuen Mun has become popular with young professionals.
According to JLL Hong Kong’s Residential Leasing Market Snapshot 2Q17, Tuen Mun is also popular because of the international schools.
Many Western and mainland Chinese families have moved out to Tuen Mun because they want to be near Harrow, while the airport shuttle bus is a big attraction for Cathay and Dragonair pilots, says Eliette Rosich, a local resident who works as an independent residential consultant.
The area has become a weekend country and beach retreat for many residents who commute daily to work in Shenzhen.
“Property in Tuen Mun is competitively priced, good value for money, and it’s an ideal location for cross-border commuters,” says Stella Abraham, head of residential leasing and location for JLL Hong Kong.
The newest development will be The Drake in Siu Lam which is also JLL’s sole leasing agency project in the area. It was launched at the end of last year.