HK Property

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Hi everyone,

This is my first posting to this forum of probably many more to come. I've been reading this site with much interest and enjoyment for the past 2 weeks. I really love it!

I live in Rotterdam the Netherlands and am married to a Hong Kong girl (we met each other at the University here in Rotterdam). In 1997 I lived in HK for a year with her. We were both doing our internships there for western companies.

I can honestly say that this was one of the best years of my life. I love HK so much that we had our wedding there (2001) in the fabulous Aberdeen Marina Club.

Since I returned back to Holland at the end of 1997, not a day has gone by where I didn't dream of moving to HK one day.

My problem is that I have a software company here wich makes it pretty much impossible to pick up my things and leave (depending on how you look at it of course).

My wife and I have gotten to the point now where we simply don't want to live here in Holland anymore. This country either really sucks...or HK is simply sooo! much better...I haven't figured that one out yet.

So we are now seriously considering to just go there next summer and set up a HK office of my company there.... I know the HK economy is not good there right now, but the Dutch economy is also on an all time low so I'm not scared off by that.

I've been looking around on the net for some prices and pictures of some Hong Kong apartments (for sale) and have noticed how incredibly cheap they have become. I am totally amazed! For me this is great news :roll: , but I feel VERY sorry for people with mortgages in HK. It seems like prices have come down with 50 to 60%!!! 8O

What areas would you guys recommend to live in HK? At that time I lived in my wifes apartment in Tai Po, but tat's way too north for me. I prefer to live closer to kowloon or even on the HK side. What area's would you guys recommend? My budget for an appartment is between 4 and 6 million HK$....so I guess Repulse Bay is out of the question :wink:

Can you recommend any good websites that show HK appartments that are for sale? Preferably with pictures, in english and that show prices.

I found http://www.hongkonghomes.com but that site seems to only sell to the high end of the market in the 15 mil to 80mil range.

Looking forward to your replies!

Gary

Re:HK Property

Try [url]http://www.gohome.com.hk/english/home.asp?[/url]. It seems to have a wide range of prices and properties, from palatial to slum.

dave

Re:HK Property

[quote="odaiwai"]Try [url]http://www.gohome.com.hk/english/home.asp?[/url]. It seems to have a wide range of prices and properties, from palatial to slum.

dave[/quote]

What an excellent site! Thank you so much!

I spent the entire sunday on the bed with my wife browsing properties on this site :D

Thanks again.

Re:HK Property

Hi Gary,

You are very lucky to be looking at flats now rather than when you were here in 1997 !

We found the "Transaction Records" section at [url]http://www.centanet.com/ehome.htm[/url] is very helpful. Once we decided on a couple of flats we liked, we used this site to see how much similar flats in the same building had sold for, and used that information in our bargaining.

MrB.

negative equity

The websites odaiwai and Mr B have suggested are both excellent. Mrs T and I spent a lot of time on centanet when we bought our current flat, too.

A couple of other property market issues to note:

First, right now there are a *lot* of new developments in Hong Kong -- the market is still choking on the glut of flats planned and initiated in the heady days of the mid-90s property boom. That's keeping prices pretty low for now. Many of these new developments maintain lavish, sales-oriented websites, so if you see a development that is relatively new, it's likely to have its own site. Many, many hours of websurfing possible here!

Second, your price range should get you something pretty nice. As I'm sure you know, though, there are lots of tradeoffs to be made in the HK market. If you're willing to consider areas outside the typical expat neighborhoods, as you have suggested, you're going to be in very good shape indeed. You should be able to find something at 1000 ft2 or above, with good facilities.

Good luck, and please keep posting your questions/progress!

Economy

I think the economy in Hong Kong is OK, but it totally depends on what you are doing. In the IT industry it also depends what your clients are doing - I guess selling to local retail businesses would be tough, whereas exporters and traders would have more money to spend.

Buying now and moving here next year could be perfect timing - catch the economy as it picks up but before property gets too expensive!

I live in the New Territories and there are some good developments around here if you don't mind spending some time on the KCR. Also, the new KCR West Rail opens later this month and will make some places more attractive.

Re:HK Property

Do you guys think property will still be reasonable in september 2004? That's when I'm planning on buying property.

'reasonable' property

It all depends on your definition of 'reasonable', of course!

Hong Kong property prices are never going to seem cheap to most people, but the recent crash has meant they've at least come back into line with other big metropolitan areas around the world, although I'd guess they're still pretty high on the list.

There are signs that the market is starting to recover, but it will take a long time for it ever to reach the disproportionate heights of the mid- to late 90s -- if it ever does.

Just to give you a sense of scale: Mrs Tall and I bought our first flat in late 1995, which was well before the high point of the boom (it peaked right around the handover in mid-1997). We sold that flat last year and were delighted to get just under half the purchase price.

The point is, I think property prices are going to look 'reasonable' here for a long time -- although it's possible they'll be higher in 10 months than they are now, but who knows? If there is a recovery in process, it's seems to be only just beginning.

Re:HK Property

Thanks alot for the feedback guys!

Just came back from a business trip so I wasn't able to respond any faster :cry:

As for the recovery of the Hong Kong economy. Here are my 2 cents:

- First of all, a housing market that crashed quite suddenly will almost never recover with the same speed as the crash (it would be a very bad if it did). Expect it to recover over the next couple of years...IF all goes well. I agree with the others though....crazy prices like in 1997 will probably never be seen again in HK.

- The Hong Kong economy might be starting to recover just as the European economies look like they are starting to recover. However, Both Europe but particularly HK highly depend on the development of the US economy. Although things look fairly good in the US, many people (inluding me) are VERY worried about the way their economy is growing. It seems that the only growth factor is government spending...this is not a very healthy situation as the government can't keep on spending more than they have forever. Let's keep our fingers crossed and hope all goes well.

On a related topic:

Do any of you have any views on the Chinese government and its obvious push in making Shanghai the new Hong Kong? It really worries me, as it seems like this Shanghai push will hurt the HK economy in the short and even long term.

I might be wrong about this as I only get limited news of the HK region over here.

I'd love to hear your views on this! :?:

Re:HK Property

...mmm. Seems like this is not a forum for political / economic discussions :roll:

Question:

Do any of you know the Villa Concerto apportments at Symphony Bay (Ma On Shan) ?

If yes:

- How are they? What about the location? Is it close to any public transport, or will you be depandant on minibus services? Any other comments?

Thanks!

Villa symphony

We had a look at them (I think) but they are a little bit far away down a traffic constricted road from Ma On Shan town centre which means that you are dependant on the estate bus or mini-busses to get at least to Ma On Shan for buses (and later on trains). I've been on that stretch of road in the morning and because of the road works it was not a quick journey (1/2 hour).

Nice estate if you don't need to work, good environment.

Symphony bay

Bijai's right in that Symphony Bay is very pleasantly located. the buildings themselves look extremely nice, too. Just wanted to note that their publid transport access will improve when the KCR extension opens; it will terminate not far from Symphony Bay. Having said that, it will still be a long haul on the train to get into the urban areas.

Symphony Bay, etc.

I think my husband & I looked at some of the flats there back in the late 90's when we were in the market. As I remember there were no balconies and it was on central air, you couldn't open the windows.

There are quite a few nice flats and developments in Sai Kung & Clear Water Bay, which can get you to the MTR in 10-20 minutes.

We also lived in Tai Wai for a few years (between Kowloon Tong & Sha Tin on the KCR). I liked Tai Wai a lot: great wet market (wide aisles), lots of pubs, tons of banks, right near Shatin which has a better public library than Ngau Chi Wan or Sai Kung town and also provides pretty good shopping (New Town Plaza, etc.).

Shanghai compared

To pick back up on a question Gary asked earlier on this thread, i.e. about the possibility of Shanghai usurping HK's position in east asia, see what Mr Hemlock (currently filling in for Conrad on Gweilo Diaries) has to say about it at

[url]http://www.gweilodiaries.com/archives/001777.html#001777[/url]

Symphony Bay

Problem with the KCR extension is that you have to change trains in Tai Wai which is already one of the hardest places to get on a train in the world just based on the Kowloon going traffic in peak hour. It's also a trip through the traffic snarl to get to the latest station. The other thing about Symphony Bay which all HK people will note is that there are no shops or markets.

Re:HK Property

Great input on the Symphony bay area! Thanks!

Seems like there's some major advantages and some disadvantages there.

I think the appartments (Villa Concerto) and its surroundings are really nice. Very unique for HK style. However, not being close to any shops will be a MAJOR issue for my wife as she is (like most other HK women I know) seriously adicted to shopping.

Anybody know any similar appertments that do have shops close by?

Mr. Tall, thanks for the link to the article about the Shanghai uprise. I'll be reading it with much interest.