Kwun Tong’s rejuvenation gives positive boost to local housing market
Dubbed a ‘small Taikoo Shing’, the area has seen dramatic change recently, and thousands of new residential properties are now under construction
Once an industrial area, Kwun Tong has undergone a gradual transformation over the past decade. Swanky new office towers have risen, and major banks, such as Standard Chartered and Bank of East Asia, have moved their back operations into the area.
And with the government saying that it would develop Kwun Tong along with Kai Tak and Kowloon East as a new central business district, property developers have moved in to begin building at the old airport. As a result, the residential market is booming.
Kwun Tong is rapidly undergoing an extensive facelift, involving the redevelopment of the Kwun Tong town centre, revitalisation of industrial buildings and planning for more green open space. As a new focal point of activity, Kwun Tong Promenade was completed in 2015.
A few minutes away from the bustling Kwun Tong office towers, there is a quiet residential enclave loosely defined by estate agents as the district’s uptown, which includes the neighbourhoods around Hip Wo Street, Yuet Wah Street, Hong Ning Road and Kung Lok Road.
Built in the 1960s or 1970s, many of these old Chinese buildings – or dong laus – have retained the quaint charm they had that appealed to numerous small business and factory owners, who were behind Hong Kong’s economic boom.
“Kwun Tong is a very convenient place to live. The office area and APM shopping centre is within easy reach or just walking distance. It has two MTR stations and is well served by many buses, minibuses and other transport links, making it the centre of Kowloon East,” says Jacob Poon Tat-hang, director of Super Land Property.
“But compared with other urban areas undergoing regeneration, such as Cheung Sha Wan or Sham Shui Po, I would say that Kwun Tong homes are underpriced on a per-square-foot basis. The building’s age is one factor. Another reason is that the district has not seen new major development for many years, except the smaller-scale redevelopment projects,” Poon says.
For quite a long time, the Kwun Tong housing market has not had the feel-good factor generated by high-priced sales of new project launches nearby in Kai Tak. Home sellers are relatively more realistic with pricing, Poon says.
More renowned housing complexes include Panorama Court, located on Hong Lee Road and Kung Lok Road; The Verandah Gardenon Kung Lok Road; Hamden Courton Hong Ning Road; and Hyde Towers on lower Kung Lok Road.
Some older, yet properly maintained residential complexes, such as Connie Towers, offer attractively priced housing choices that Poon says would be of interest to first-time buyers as well.
As the town centre redevelopment project progresses, however, the sleepy Kwun Tong housing market will likely be given a boost with the injection of about 2,000 residential units from a major residential project undertaken by Sino Land and Chinese Estates.
Poised to become the future landmark of Kwun Tong, the town centre redevelopment project as a whole occupies a site area of 570,000 sq ft and consists of five development areas, the first three of which are designated as residential areas.
The residential development under construction is located in Areas 2 and 3, near the existing 299-unit Park Metropolitan in Area 1 at 8 Yuet Wah Street, and connected to Kwun Tong MTR station. It will provide nearly 2,000 units spread across four residential towers and include a shopping centre. The project is expected to go on sale as early as next year or no later than 2019.
Area 4, previously occupied by a government building, will be become a mixed-used complex with more than 400 hotel rooms, grade-A office space and a large shopping centre. Area 5, where Yue Man Square is currently located, is earmarked for a proposed shopping complex with over 1 million sq ft of retail floor space.
Last November, Wheelock Properties purchased a government site, located at Sin Fat Road, for HK$6.39 billion. It covers approximately 196,550 sq ft of site area. The developer said it would look to build between about 1,100 and 1,200 flats, mainly as two- and three-bedroom combination.
Nord Anglia International School Hong Kong is located nearby. However, Regina Ma, associate director at Proway Relocation and Real Estate Services, says the expatriate community has yet to find Kwun Tong a desirable place to call home because of the high-density environment and cultural differences.
But such perception will change as Kwun Tong continues to evolve along with Kai Tak and Kowloon East, she says.
Poon says that and increasing number of multinational companies are moving part or all of their operations to Kwun Tong or Kowloon East. “Demand for rental accommodation from professionals and executives working nearby in the area will continue to rise,” Poon notes.