Weekend Property

Desirable: more families opt for homes in Cheung Sha Wan and Lai Chi Kok in Hong Kong

A vibrant community of middle-class families now occupies this area, which once served as the hub of Hong Kong’s busy textile manufacturing industry,

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 February, 2017, 9:13am
UPDATED : Friday, 24 February, 2017, 1:41pm

In the 1970s, Cheung Sha Wan and neighbouring Lai Chi Kok were home to the thriving textile manufacturing industry. However, as property prices started moving upwards and Hong Kong turned its focus towards the services industry, the manufacturing base moved from the area to north of the border.

Soon, Cheung Sha Wan and Lai Chi Kok were transformed into commercial and office areas, where major exporters, electronics makers and merchandising offices based their head offices and backroom operations.

Across Lai Chi Kok Road from the office zone towards the waterfront is a cluster of high-rise residential towers, with their shopping malls interconnected by elevated walkways leading all the way to Lai Chi Kok MTR station.

Owing to their interconnectivity, shared amenities and convenience, the four major housing complexes, namely Banyan Garden, The Pacifica, AquaMarine and Liberté, are collectively dubbed the “four little dragons” by estate agents, creating a community favoured by middle-class families.

Built in early 2000s, these housing complexes are relatively new and very well maintained. Most flats are laid out as functional two-bedrooms in well proportioned floor plans. Of the four complexes, Banyan Garden is the largest. It consists of seven towers together providing 2,528 units. It is complete with a tropical garden of more than 180,000 sq ft.

Liberté is the second largest one and comprises 2,400 units. Like its neighbouring complexes, it benefits from a full clubhouse, with special features such as heated pool and bowling alleys.

Because most residents are owner-occupiers, with a small number of buy-to-let properties, transaction volume in the secondary market was steady throughout last year, according to estate agents.

At Banyan Garden, except during the Lunar New Year period, monthly sales ranged between seven and 15 in 2016, Land Registry records showed. The average price was HK$12,300 per square foot.

At The Pacifica, an average of seven deals were closed each month, with the average price standing at HK$12,870 per square foot. Average monthly sales posted by AquaMarine and Liberté were about six and eight flats, respectively. The average unit price recorded across these two complexes was about HK$12,800 per square foot last year.

Most landlords are occupiers. There aren’t many properties held by investors and so availability of for-sale listings is quite tight here
Money Chin, assistant associate director, Midland Realty (AquaMarine branch)

“Most landlords are occupiers. There aren’t many properties held by investors and availability of for-sale listings is quite tight here,” says Money Chin, an assistant associate director at Midland Realty based in the AquaMarine branch. “A fair number of potential buyers coming to our branch are first-time buyers and they are the least affected by the home buying and mortgage restrictions.”

Besides the “four little dragons”, there are also a handful of new single-block developments on sale in Cheung Sha Wan, but buyers have to compromise on square footage and convenience, Chin notes.

Henderson Land says its redevelopment project, Park One, at 1 Nam Cheong Street, remains available for sale off-plan at prices of about HK$15,500 per square foot. According to the first-hand property sales platform, at least 45 units were sold by early February, out of a total of 129. Construction on the Park One site commenced in February last year, according to Buildings Department records.

Paliburg Holdings says two special units at The Ascent, located at 83 Shun Ning Road, remain up for grabs.

Another project that is popular with buyers is the units at Hong Kong Ferry’s micro-apartment development Harbour Park, at 208 Tung Chau Street in Sham Shui Po.

Together with a few other projects in the pipeline, Centaline estimates that as many as 2,399 units will be completed in Cheung Sha Wan this year alone.

The recent sale of a commercial site in Cheung Sha Wan is considered to be a positive factor favourable to the local housing market, estate agents say.

In February, New World Development purchased a commercial site at King Lam Street for about HK$7.794 billion and said it would turn it into a grade-A twin-tower office development.

Given a maximum gross floor area of approx 193,548 sq ft, the land price works out to about HK$7,800 per square foot in terms of accommodation value. Estate agents believe the completion of this office project will produce stronger demand for rental homes in the area, and therefore expect the buy-to-let market to heat up in the medium term.

In reviewing its redevelopment strategy, Urban Renewal Authority (URA) chief Wai Chi-sing admits that the lack of concerted effort and well thought out, district-level strategy in the past had resulted in fragmented and uneven development in some urban areas.

In the second quarter, the URA will carry out planning studies on the upcoming regeneration of Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok, and explore different development options to bring vibrancy to these areas, he wrote in his blog. Channels will also be established to encourage feedback from residents and other stakeholders, he adds.