• Buying Property on Lantau Island: By Kelly Merrick

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    Lantau Island is one of the most overlooked places in Hong Kong. If you discuss Hong Kong property with any person, you’ll most often end up talking about the difficulties people have to buy a decent home, even in places like New Territories.

    Well, you have other options too.

    Lantau Island has more than 100,000 inhabitants and offer properties with great sceneries over the mountains and the ocean. You’ll also be able to take long walks on astonishing white beaches.

    In this interview, Kelly Merrick from HomeSolutions explains the basics you need to know when buying a property on Lantau Island.

    Kelly, please tell us a bit about your background and your current business. How did you end up selling properties on Lantau Island?

    HomeSolutions was founded in 2007 by Jennifer Bauch who is originally from the Netherlands.

    Andrew Merrick and I worked with Jennifer for nearly a year prior to officially taking over the business in May 2011.

    Our team takes pride in guiding our clients through the buying, selling or leasing process by providing superior service, detailed property/village information and the resources to help make the moving process problem free.

    We try to ensure that each individual and family quickly becomes part of the Lantau community. Our team is not in the business of high-pressure sales.

    We aim to assist people in finding a real home and happiness in two great communities: South Lantau and Tung Chung.

    How do you help foreigners to buy property on Lantau Island?

    Our team assists all people who are interested in buying or renting property on Lantau, and guide them through the whole process.

    We have a step-by-step process assisting with buying procedures, costs, legal fees, deposits, the stamp duty fee, and we put our clients in contact with a highly qualified mortgage brokers and lawyers specializing in South Lantau properties.

    In South Lantau we have 3 types of properties – Flats, Villas and Village Houses. Many Villas offer amenities, such as, private car parks, private gardens, gated security, swimming pools, tennis courts and BBQ areas.

    New high-end developments like Whitesands and Botanica Bay are now on the market, so South Lantau property market is growing fast.

    Village Houses are very popular as they usually offer a 700 square feet (65 square meters) roof for entertaining and may also have a private garden.

    There are three floors (Ground, 1st & 2nd floors) with a max of 700 square feet per floor, meaning a full village house is 2,100 square feet (195 square meters). This is a great size for families and the price per square feet is very attractive for both renting and buying.

    A big advantage is that many village houses are subdivided, meaning that you can lease 1, 2 or 3 floors. The roof is typically private for the 2nd floor and the garden is private for the ground floor.

    Do you own property on Lantau Island, or do you have friends or others that do? What do they say?

    Yes, we own property in South Lantau. South Lantau offers residents 9 beautiful white sandy beaches, stunning hiking trials, a short 30 minute ferry ride to Central, amenities ranging from restaurants, bars, watersports, mountain bike trails to complete peace and isolation.

    People are moving to South Lantau from other places in Hong Kong as they are looking for a different lifestyle away from the hustle and bustle. Lantau offers great communities, where people feel welcomed and supported.

    Lantau offers natural outdoor spaces for children to run and play and feel safe, great schools that are accessible, lots of organized activities for families and an area that cares about the environment and nature.

    Hong Kong’s property prices have increased much during the past years and many locals seek for cheaper properties overseas instead. How are the prices on Lantau Island compared to other parts of Hong Kong, for example New Territories or Sham Shui Po?

    Housing prices have indeed increased in recent years in much the same way as the rest of Hong Kong. However, due to our relatively stable supply the change is incremental over time. Lantau is still quite affordable compared to other areas of Hong Kong.

    Our team sees South Lantau as a hidden gem, for families are surrounded by green space, beaches, quiet peace and great community.

    Every year, our community adds more conveniences and amenities. We have excellent school choices and numerous community activities.

    Prices start from HK$15.00 per square foot for lease of a village house. Sales start around HK$4,700 per square foot for village houses. This is very reasonable in Hong Kong.

    Families are no longer moving here simply to save a bit of money. They are choosing to live in South Lantau for the lifestyle. For this reason, we believe that Lantau prices will continue to increase.

    Which nationalities usually buy property on Lantau Island? Are there mostly locals and mainlanders, or foreigners too?

    South Lantau is represented by nearly every nationality in the world, including locals, mainlanders and other expats.

    If I buy a property and reside on Lantau Island, will I get the same benefits compared to if I lived in other parts of Hong Kong? Can I apply for a citizenship if I reside on Lantau Island during a period of 7 years?

    Yes, Lantau falls under the same regulations as the rest of Hong Kong, and after 7 years that person can apply for Permanent Residency as long as they fulfill the immigration requirements.

    Except for the beaches and great nature, what are the benefits of buying a property on Lantau Island, compared to other parts of Hong Kong? Are there any tax benefits?

    Property in South Lantau is varied and there are an abundance of choices ranging from properties with gardens, sea views, mountain views, rooftops etc.

    We truly believe there are no disadvantages of buying property in Lantau. South Lantau offers a great community and offers something for everyone.

    It is a wonderful place to raise a family and to enjoy nature and privacy, which is rare in Hong Kong. Buying on South Lantau, you will invest in a wonderful lifestyle and a great quality of living.

    The tax rules are the same as the rest of Hong Kong, the only benefit being that property is slightly less expensive and therefore will incur less tax.

    Are there any common pitfalls, due to different regulations, that foreigners encounter when buying property on Lantau Island?

    The rules for purchasing property in South Lantau are the same as the rest of Hong Kong.

    There are just more benefits due to the amazing quality of life!

    Thank you Kelly. Finally, what do you want to say to foreigners who are interested to buy a property on South Lantau?

    In South Lantau we have 3 types of property – Flats, Villas and Village Houses. HomeSolutions Real Estate, Ltd can assist you during your journey to find the perfect home for you and your family.

    All three property types have unique benefits to offer new and existing residents. There are various options for education and schools on Lantau Island, community and outdoor activities and an excellent public transport system.

    Stamp duty rules have changed considerably over the last 5 years. Our team can consult with you to help you understand the implications of stamp duty to help you determine the right time to buy with your current immigration status and Hong Kong home ownership status.

    Here at HomeSolutions we enjoy helping people find a new home, we have agents from around the world and offer a service in a variety of different languages, whether you are looking to purchase your dream home or lease a small flat, we can help.

    Our HomeSolutions team takes pride in guiding our clients through the buying, selling or leasing process by providing superior service, detailed property/village information and resources to help make the moving process problem free.

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