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A Kwun Tong makeover


Kwun Tong is always in transformation, with more buzz and glamour added to its charm every day. The district got its name from being the location of state-owned (“kwun”) salt yards (“tong”) back in the Northern Song Dynasty, and was at one point a deserted wasteland during the 17th century. In the 1950s, it was redeveloped as a new town, and 35 public housing estates have been built here over the past four decades. Private developers came in around 1998 and further revitalised the area with a string of Grade-A commercial buildings and shopping malls. Today, redevelopments are taking place all over Kwun Tong, bringing better facilities, more green spaces and higher investment value.

Over the past 10 years, commercial properties have been the focus of Kwun Tong’s real estate market. The Energizing Kowloon East project is actively turning Kowloon East into the city’s second central business district. Betting on the district’s vast potential, a slew of businesses have moved their offices from Central to the Kwun Tong Business Area. In the meantime, boutique hotels, mini storages, upstairs shops and restaurants are popping up inside revamped industrial blocks, breathing new life and creativity into the old neighbourhood. With gleaming commercial buildings and buzzing retail outlets making Kwun Tong increasingly appealing for home seekers, its housing market is now on the rise. Large redevelopment projects have resulted in several new residential projects, a scarce resource in Hong Kong, particularly in its urban areas; naturally, these are drawing a lot of investor attention.

Residential properties in Kwun Tong pack considerable potential, thanks to the district’s great connectivity and ancillary facilities. It only takes a 15-minute journey to get from Kwun Tong to the Eastern District, and around 30 minutes to Central. Upon the completion of the current redevelopment project, Kwun Tong will become Hong Kong’s greenest town centre, complete with sprawling lawns and waterfalls. However, a few concern groups have expressed their worry that such a large-scale project may cause bad air pollution in the district, and that the high plot ratio could lead to an overcrowding of developments in the town centre.

Despite Kwun Tong’s many advantages, prospective buyers should take into account the future prospect of Hong Kong’s housing market before making purchases. First of all, the increasing supply of new units may cause home prices to drop; secondly, interest rate hikes will indirectly raise housing costs; and thirdly, the global economy’s uncertain future, the ongoing US-China trade war and the back-and-forth of the Brexit deal have been negatively impacting both the stock and housing markets.

According to property price indexes from squarefoot.com.hk, the current per-square-foot price of Kwun Tong properties is HK$13,744. The district’s most recently built large estate is Laguna City in Lam Tin, while Grand Central, which has released its first batch of units for sale at the end of 2018, is its latest development.

 

Selected properties

Grand Central


A collaboration between Sino Land, Chinese Estates Holdings and the Urban Renewal Authority (URA), Grand Central is the city’s largest urban commercial and residential redevelopment in history. A short five- to eight-minute walk away from the Kwun Tong MTR station, it is being developed in five phases and has a total gross floor area of approximately 4.3 million square feet, approximately 2,000 units, as well as a large park and other facilities. The basement of Phases 4 and 5 will become a mall with over one million square feet of retail space in the next few years. The development’s 100,000-square-foot club, Grand Central Park, which boasts a wide variety of facilities including reading space, barbecue site, indoor and outdoor pools, badminton court and gym, is the largest club in the district and comes with a management fee of HK$3.98 per saleable square foot. The first batch of 488 flats, located in Phase 2 and 3, are being sold at 70% of market rates. The developers have received 6,500 cheques in five days, an over subscription of 12 times.

Park Metropolitan


Located on 8 Yuet Wah Street, Park Metropolitan is a standalone building co-developed by the URA and Sino Land as part of Phase 1 of the Kwun Tong Town Centre Redevelopment Project. It offers 299 units, ranging from one- to four-bedroom flats, with saleable areas between 457 and 1,313 square feet. A luxury club is located on the first floor of the building, while the two basement floors house the Kwun Tong Community Health Center. Unit 9D, with a saleable area of 570 square feet, was recently sold at HK$10.5 million or HK$18,421 per square foot.

One East Coast


This is a Kowloon Development project, located on 1 Lei Yue Mun Path, consisting of two residential towers with a total of 646 units, including studios as well as one- and two-bedroom flats. The development is expected to be ready for use by the end of 2019. Unit 15G in Tower 2, a studio with a saleable area of 208 square feet, was recently sold at HK$3.961 million or HK$19,043 per square foot.


Things to Know Before Moving into Kwun Tong

  • Large number of construction sites

The Kwun Tong Town Centre Redevelopment Project covers an expansive area and involves numerous main streets in the district including Yuet Wah Street, Yue Man Square, Hong Ning Road, Mut Wah Street and Hip Wo Street. The large number of construction sites have led to narrowed pathways, unpleasant noises and air pollution in certain areas.

  • Minibuses

Housing estates in and around the Sau Mau Ping area are further away from the town centre, so residents have to take minibuses to and from the Kwun Tong MTR station. Meanwhile, the minibus route set up at On Tat Estate, completed in 2016, takes its residents to areas further than Kowloon Bay MTR station. 

  • School net

Kwun Tong belongs to Primary School Net 48, which includes Our Lady of China Catholic Primary School, The Mission Covenant Church Holm Glad Primary School, and Lok Sin Tong Yeung Chung Ming Primary School. Its Secondary School Net belongs to Kwun Tong District, with Sing Yin Secondary School, Leung Shek Chee College, and Kwun Tong Maryknoll College. There are two international schools in the surrounding districts: Shrewsbury International School Hong Kong in Tseung Kwan O and Kellett School in Kowloon Bay.