Yuen Long given modern makeover with all the attributes of a 21st century city
Skyscrapers, restaurants and an impressive transport network dominate an area that was once farmland until the MTR’s West Rail transformed the scene
Yuen Long has been steadily growing in size over the years, with the former farming district in the New Territories now boasting the attributes of a modern miniature city, with skyscrapers, restaurants and an impressive transport network.
The area, encompassing Tin Shui Wai, began its transformation thanks to a growing transport network, especially the MTR’s West Rail line which has cut travel time from Yuen Long to Central and Tsim Sha Tsui to less than an hour. Other modes of public transport operate 24 hours a day.
According to the Town Planning Board website, about 430 hectares of land has been reclaimed, and the Development Zone comprises 220 hectares. This is in the southern part of Tin Shui Wai and houses about 200,000 people, complete with infrastructure and community facilities. A light rail network and new roads linking Tin Shui Wai mean the new town is well connected to Yuen Long and Tuen Mun.
In order to attract residents and tourists, the government redeveloped the wetland park and opened this to the public in May 2006.
Tin Shui Wai was developed in the mid-1990s by CK Property when it launched the development of Kingswood Villas to attract professionals and buyers looking for affordable housing with modern facilities.
The new town has been growing , while shedding its image as the “city of sadness”. The total population of Tin Shui Wai is expected to grow from 290,000 to 306,000.
Following an outcry from residents, the government has also bowed to pressure and opened a hospital, which is expected to relieve pressure on Tuen Mun and Pok Oi Hospitals that were serving Tin Shui Wai until the recent opening.
According to Oscar Chow, an estate agent with Midland Realty, the secondary market in the area is subdued mainly because of the government’s introduction of buyers stamp duty of 15 per cent last November.
The average price for an 820 sq ft flat in Kenswood Court, Kingswood Villas, ranges from HK$4 million to HK$4.5 million. Chow has had about 10 potential buyers in the past month or so viewing homes in this block and Maywood Court.
Chow says that smaller homes of 560 sq ft to 700 sq ft in these two blocks are popular with single professionals and young couples – flats are priced from HK$3 million from HK$3.9 million.
The rental market in Tin Shui Wai is active with the average leasing deals for the largest homes, of 820 sq ft, fetching anything between HK$11,000 and HK$11,500 a month.
Chow adds that since the start of the year, people who intended buying in the area have adopted a wait-and-see attitude, opting to rent instead. He says young families are also attracted to the area because there are numerous schools and kindergartens, in addition to government-run medical clinics.
Close to Tin Shui Wai is Long Ping which has also enjoyed growth over the years, even though public housing still outnumbers private residential blocks.
The latest development to come onto the market is CK Property’s Yuccie Square project in Yuen Long. The developer released the first batch of homes last November at prices from HK$9,932 to HK$12,622 per square foot.
Yuccie Square is 10 per cent more expensive than nearby Bloomsway (HK$10,880 per square foot), but 1 per cent lower than Capri HK$12,081 per square foot). Estate agents add that Yuccie Square is 3 per cent cheaper than neighbouring Yoho Town (HK$12,332 per square foot).
CK Property has offered 80 per cent mortgages at a 3 per cent fixed interest rate for the first three years and at prime rate afterwards (prime rate being 5 per cent). CK released the second batch of 130 additional Yuccie Square homes, priced at HK$12,756 per square foot, representing a 6.7 per cent increase on the first price list.