Overlooking the three famous bridges — Tsing Ma Bridge, Ting Kiu Bridge and Kap Shui Mun Bridge — lies a housing complex that has come under renewed spotlight in the property market.
Sea Crest Villa, one of the largest housing estates in Sham Tseng, has finally seen the value of its units recover to the launch price levels of 20 years ago.
In a recent transaction, a buyer is reported to have paid HK$4.46 million for a one-bedroom flat in the housing complex, or about HK$10,215 per square feet.
It marked the first time the price topped the five-digit mark after the estate took a beating early last decade, especially during the SARS crisis.
Despite the strong brand name of Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP), which had been the developer behind the project, Sea Crest Villa had been under water until now in terms of the unit prices on the secondary market.
The Phase 5 of the project was priced close to HK$10,000 per square foot (psf) during the initial launch back in 1997, but the market prices fell as much as 70 percent during SARS before a gradual recovery to the original levels.
Sea Crest Villa has been one of the very few housing estates in Hong Kong that have seen prices fall under water. And recovery has taken a long time.
Interestingly, some other housing estates — such as Island Place in North Point, Discovery Park in Tseun Wan, and Kingswood Villa in Tin Shui Wai — have all returned to their peak level in the past year.
In particular, Kingswood Villa — which was put up by Cheung Kong Property — has seen active transactions lately, although some people consider the HK$10,000 psf level to be an indicator of an overheating home market.
Why it took so long for Sea Crest Villa, which I pass by every week on the way to Tuen Mun, to come above water is a mystery, especially given that the property is from SHKP, whose products always command a premium.
The only reason I can think of is this: the estate doesn’t have easy access to the MTR.
Some Sea Crest Villa residents, however, told me that they are happy as they are living in an exclusive and spacious area famous for roasted goose and dessert.
Still, the stark reality is that Sea Crest has been one of the very few housing estates that were traded below the HK$10,000 psf mark in recent times.
According to Centanet Agency, there are still nine units at the estate priced below that level.
Overall, there are said to be only 73 units in Kowloon, and about 3,800 units in the city, that are now available at prices below the HK$10,000 psf level.
Now, not many homeowners will be missing former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa, during whose eight-year reign Hong Kong saw a 50 percent collapse in housing prices in some areas.
Coming to Sea Crest Villa owners, they might perhaps want the city’s incumbent leader, Leung Chun-ying, to stay in his post a bit longer.
That is because under Leung’s watch, home prices have surged 50 percent in the city despite a not-too-friendly approach toward property developers.
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