Weekend Property

Eastern promise: Hong Kong Island’s distant Chai Wan attracts eager homebuyers

Located at the end of the MTR line, the district is convenient for commuters and is well situated for some of the top hiking trails and coastal walks

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 November, 2016, 12:45pm
UPDATED : Friday, 11 November, 2016, 6:34pm

Chai Wan seems to be below the radar of investors as there are hardly any new developments to talk about. The area is located at the eastern end of Hong Kong Island and it is quite a world of its own. While the area is largely packed with high rises and industrial buildings, there are well-planned, relatively self-contained residential communities that offer a convenient lifestyle comparable to the modern developments in the heart of the city.

There are scattered self-contained older developments in and around Chai Wan, such as Heng Fa Chuen, which is served by an MTR station.

Heng Fa Chuen is a landmark housing complex tucked off the busy roads. The entire development comprises 48 apartment blocks, providing 6,504 units, and includes a small shopping centre with restaurants and a supermarket. There is also a short waterfront promenade that is a perfect spot for jogging or a relaxed waterfront stroll.

Because of its scale, Heng Fa Chuen is considered a sought-after housing estate as indicated by its secondary market sales activity. With a strong housing market, a total of 24 units changed hands in August, up 40 per cent month-on-month, with transaction prices averaging HK$12,878 per square foot, Land Registry records show.

Set on the eastern side of Chai Wan, facing towards Tathong Channel, Siu Sai Wan is another well developed waterfront community, despite the fact that the commute to the city relies on road transport as it is out of the reach of the MTR network.

Completed in 2001, Island Resort is a modern residential complex located next to the Siu Sai Wan sports complex. Underneath the nine towering blocks, rising to 60 floors each, is a two-storey shopping mall. It is connected to a long waterfront promenade that winds along the coastline.

Unlike many other large-scale developments that boast access to an MTR station, Island Resort sits on a bus terminus with plenty of routes that link directly to popular destinations across Hong Kong Island and some parts of Kowloon.

To the east of Siu Sai Wan is a popular hiking trail that leads all the way to Shek O Country Park and Pottinger Peak Lookout, which provides stunning views of the sea off the eastern coast of Hong Kong Island.

I believe [expats’] perception of Chai Wan would change if there were more newbuilds in lower density and with the facilities they need
Clara Chu, Colliers International

Transaction volumes at Island Resort have been steady within the range of eight to 10 deals per month since April this year, according to Land Registry records. Average prices reached in August were about HK$12,130 per square foot.

Clara Chu, head of residential leasing at Colliers International, says Chai Wan has yet to become a preferred residential location for expats, especially Westerners, due to the high-density environment and lack of modern shopping facilities and Western dining establishments.

“I believe their perception of Chai Wan would change if there were more newbuilds in lower density and with the facilities they need.”

In fact, new housing supply across the Island East area has been quite subdued over the past few years – or it was until Nan Fung Development launched the Island Garden development for sale in early October.

Redeveloped from an old co-op building occupied by civil servants, Island Garden offers 470 units, mainly configured as three- and four-bedroom family apartments, in addition to a small number of one- and two-bedrooms.

According to the price list released last month, the first batch of 148 units (485 sq ft to 1,228 sq ft) are priced at HK$11.05 million to HK$$36.8 million each.

A first mortgage of up to 85 per cent of the property’s value on a 20-year term is also provided as an optional financing plan. Buyers can choose to defer mortgage repayment to the fourth year after the completion of purchase.

Donald Choi, managing director of Nan Fung Development, says the Island Garden units are reasonably priced based on the pricing levels fetched by sales of comparable properties in the vicinity.

“The development is ideally located in an elevated residential area dominated by the hillside and greenery,” Choi says.

Apart from the green surroundings, a list of green features have been built into Island Garden, so that it has achieved the BEAM Plus Provisional Gold and has been granted the buildingSMART Hong Kong International BIM Award 2016.

The development boasts a vast amount of green open space that occupies no less than 20 per cent of the whole site. Some of the west-facing units are fitted with double insulated glazing, or low-E glass, to reduce heat from direct sunlight while letting in great natural light.

Moreover, all units are installed with electronic and bathroom appliances bearing energy efficiency and water efficiency labels. To reduce noise, public lobbies and the clubhouse are installed with energy-efficient air conditioners. Lift lobbies have ventilation windows to promote healthy airflow.