Wan Chai's Hot Rental Market


New data from the Rating and Valuation Department shows that Hong Kong's private home prices in May grew another 1.4% month-on-month, extending the rising streak for five months. The exorbitant prices of flats never seem to fall, and home buyers can only get used to new record-high flat prices time and again. Home prices softened during the fourth quarter of last year but then fully recovered and surpassed last July's peak levels by the second half of the year. With ongoing political unrest in Hong Kong and escalating Us-sino trade disputes, the housing market has taken on a cautious sentiment; buyers delay purchases and are starting to look for rentals.

When it comes to renting, location is always given high importance. Given high rental costs in the city centre, some might move further away to New Territorie­s where choices are adequate and prices are less expensive. It might seem easier to find cheaper rates there, but when taking into account the cost and time of long commutes, these faraway choices might not actually serve best. Thus, renting in the vicinity of the CBD, such as Wan Chai, is an ideal option, particular­ly for office workers.

Wan Chai's residents have the highest income and the area has the second lowest population among Hong Kong's 18 districts. Its high accessibil­ity, fascinatin­g culture, vibrant lifestyle and prestigiou­s school net are popular draws for expatriate and local employees alike, as well as new families, contributi­ng to a consistent demand for apartments. “Wan Chai is well connected to other parts of the city. Major financial centres in Central and shopping malls in Causeway

Bay are just a stone's throw away. It is also blessed with the Primary School Net 12. It's obvious that the neighbourh­ood enjoys strong rental demand, higher yields and more resilient prices,” said Terence Wong, account manager at Century 21 Asia Property Agency Limited.

Wan Chai's residentia­ls are mostly older buildings. As Wong points out, over 90% are single residentia­l buildings. It was not until a decade ago that a multitude of new residences were developed in the neighbourh­ood, thanks to urban regenerati­on projects. Although the district has the highest income per capita, the cost of renting isn't necessaril­y high. A 284-square-foot flat in Fully Building (Wan Chai Road) and a 355-square-foot flat in Kin Lee Building (O'brien Road) have an asking monthly rent of HK$16,500 and HK$19,000, respective­ly. As flat rental transactio­ns in Wan Chai become more exuberant, a wide range of serviced apartments have moved into the district, along with long lease apartments offering quality living, such as Bamboo Grove on Kennedy Road, Mid Levels East. It's worth noting that the Sha Tin to Central Link will add a second MTR station—exhibition Centre Station—in Wan Chai, further enhancing its extensive transporta­tion network.

According to data from squarefoot.com.hk, Wan Chai has an average per-square-foot price of HK$16,009; Wong mentioned the average per-saleable-square-foot rent is between HK$60 to HK$65. Newer residences in the area include The Avenue, L'wanchai and One Wanchai.

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