For the young man (or woman) about town, with at least HK$14,000/ month to burn, renting a bachelor pad in the Mid-Levels should pose no problem. Rachel Ainsley
talks to Raymond Lung, director of Professional Properties Co.
‘‘Kerry Properties’ SoHo 38, launching in mid-2008, is already the talk of the town, as it’s set to provide all the five-star facilities - with a high-tech bias ’’ Raymond Lung, director Professional Properrties Co.
You’d think that in a time of tightening supply and escalating property prices, Hong Kong singletons looking for somewhere to lay their hat might be at a disadvantage. But thanks perhaps to local developers’ penchant for small-size accommodation, supply is easily meeting the demand for one-person rentals – even within the limited scope of the Mid-Levels area.
As a young professional, it’s clear that you’ll want to live in the heart of town – within walking- or escalator-distance of the Central Business District. Even if you have to factor in taxi- or MTR-fare to Quarry Bay or Kowloon West during the week, you’ll benefit after hours when the delights of Lan Kwai Fong and SoHo are on your doorstep. And the good news is that there are plenty of attractive rental opportunities on offer.
In fact those looking to rent one-person apartments are in a better position than those hoping to buy. Sales prices have already increased 20 percent to 23 percent since 2007, whereas bachelor rentals in the area have gone up a comparatively meagre 12 percent to 14 percent.
There’s no denying however that it’s a fast-moving market, and you have to jump when you find an apartment you like. Flats tend to be on the market for three weeks, no more, before they are snapped up.
Supply is a given, however, because at this end of the market turnover is fast: people tend to lease for a maximum of two years. One-person flats are vacated regularly because tenants get sent back home (or to other world cities) by work, they get promoted and want to spend more on accommodation, or they get married and upgrade to family-sized units.
SoHo so cool
Hong Kong is a great place to win your spurs both in the workplace and in the social arena, and there are as many different flats to lease as there are singletons to live in them and jobs to do.
For a certain type of singleton, of course, only a flat in SoHo will do. Not only is this party central, due to all the cosmopolitan bars and cubs, but it’s where East continues to meet West. You’re as likely to be woken at 4am by a neighbourhood printing press as by rowdy foreigners leaving a club. And here you can lease a basic 500-square-foot flat for HK$28 to HK$32 per square foot; renovated with all mod-cons for around HK$45 per square foot.
In SoHo, you’ll get to soak up the “Asian” atmosphere, (from a rooftop Jacuzzi if you’re lucky), but to date “Western” developments with facilities have been lacking. The best option as yet is the CentreStage – with pool, gym and function rooms – where HK$23,000/month can rent you 540 square feet.
But all that’s set to change when Kerry Properties launches SOHO 38 on 38 Shelley Street, Central, in mid-2008. The 27-storey, 79-unit development is already the talk of the town, as it’s set to provide all the five-star luxuries – with a high-tech bias. Not only will there be Wi-Fi throughout the whole building, but leading IT brands – Cisco, Hewlett Packard, Home Touch and Microsoft – have teamed up to provide smart solutions for residents’ security, work, entertainment and lifestyle needs within every single unit.
The SOHO 38 units range from 400-square-feet studios to 700-square-feet two-bedroom apartments. Buyers will be banking on high rental interest from Hong Kong’s top young executives, and given the standard of facilities on offer, they are unlikely to be disappointed.
For those who want to be higher up the hill, with facilities, Mid-Levels West has a lot to offer under HK$16,000/month. At Floral Tower, 22 Robinson Road 436-square-foot flats go for HK$14,000/month, and at Good View Court next door HK$15,000/month will get you 517 square feet. Fairview Height at 1 Seymour Road is another good bet, as you get to share the facilities of Palatial Crest (opposite) which are generally considered the best in the area. Here, 470-square-foot flats are renting for HK$15,000/month.
On prime Conduit Road, small units are also plentiful. At Tycoon Court Block A, 6-8 Conduit Road, 517-square-foot units rent for HK$16,000, but generally you are looking at paying over HK$20,000. The 536-square-foot units at Vantage Park, 22 Conduit Road, come in at around HK$22,000/month, while you can get 639-square-feet at Primrose Court, 56A Conduit Road, for HK$24,000.
On Macdonnell Road, there are few small-size units, so as a single resident you are looking at either the 411-square-foot studios (HK$18,000/month) or the 613-square-foot, one-bedroom units (HK$23,000/month) in St Louis Mansion, at number 22. A little closer to Wanchai, units in Star Crest in Star Street also appeal to the well-heeled. Here one-bed flats start at 731 square feet and rent for HK$30,000/month and up.
For small units in Mid-Levels proper, the only real option is Hillsborough Court on Old Peak Road. Here a 700-square-foot to 800-square-foot two-bed flat comes in at HK$23,000/month; or HK$32,000/month with a mountain view.
Serviced apartments are of course an increasingly viable option for singletons on short-stays given the calibre of suites offered by Shama, Kush, the V and the like. For anyone looking to stay in Hong Kong for half-a-year or so, there’s plenty on offer in the Mid-Levels. Serviced apartments tend to rent for 80 percent more than market price but the short-term option is a real plus, as is the fact that units come fully fitted and furnished, inclusive of utilities and concierge/maid service.
Meanwhile, those who aspire to the Friends lifestyle, and actively seek a flat share, look to the older, larger apartments at the end of Macdonnell Road, Robinson Road and Conduit Road.
Here you won’t get facilities but you can rent 1,000-square-feet two-bed apartments, with two bathrooms, from HK$26,000/month. A winner if you’re a wannabe Rachel or Monica, and Chandler and Joey live next door.
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