Investing in Sheung Wan
Sheung Wan has always been integral to the cultural fabric of Hong Kong, long before it was considered a hipster hotspot and now ripe for lucrative property investment. This area dates all the way back to when the British forces landed at Possession Point (now Possession Street) and raised the Union Jack in January 1841.
Old & New
The business community here has its roots in the early settlement of Chinese entrepreneurs who brought their wealth from China and plied their trades here — the Sincere and Wing On department stores were the forerunners. The dried seafood market around Wing Lok Street and Des Voeux Road West serve as a testament to those yesteryears, so do the plethora of antique dealers along Hollywood Road. Today they find themselves surrounded by contemporary art galleries and third wave coffee shops as neighbours. The dynamic juxtaposition of old and new, east and west with a subtle historic air makes Sheung Wan a truly one-of-a-kind neighbourhood in Hong Kong that many expats and creatives are keen to be a part of.
The urban landscape of Sheung Wan is considerably less glitzy, made up of more utilitarian office buildings, residential walk-ups and generic stores. Yet this facade is punctuated with small pockets of green space, creative clusters, superb restaurants that hum at night and a few ancient temples to boot. Over the past 5-10 years, the area surrounding Tai Ping Shan Street and Po Hing Fong, aptly named as Poho, saw gentrification take hold. Up the hill, among leafy trees and away from the traffic and bustle, the rhythm of life here is noticeably calmer. Once a thriving home for printing presses, their ground floor spaces have been taken over by concept stores, cafes and studios. Both locals and tourists are often seen wandering about, basking in the vibrant creative milieu. The architecture though, still visibly embodies layers of history. Housing options come primarily in regular high rise residential towers or walk-ups, most of which are small- to medium-sized and decades-old. That said, many landlords are incentivized to renovate their spaces to accommodate the modern lifestyle with a range of pied-a-terres and loft-like living, catering to the tastes of the more affluent and discerning crowd that Sheung Wan and surrounding areas entices.
Cultural & Food Diversity
Blessed with the adjacency to Central, most places there can be accessed on foot; even the IFC can be reached via the Central—Mid-levels escalators, and the teeming Soho is just along the way. Many expats and young professionals enjoy this proximity to the central business district while benefiting from the thriving community and more humanised configuration of the area. There is no shortage of F&B options to cater to diverse palates; some of the latest gastronomic concepts can often be found just a few blocks away. The revitalised PMQ (Police Married Quarters), revamped Tai Kwun and ongoing gentrification that has been sprawling westward guarantee continued interest in Sheung Wan, hence the resilient demand. The premium rent often reflects more the locality than the condition or size of the property, yet the appeal remains for young singles or couples, small-sized families and expats who have greater affordability and value the centrality. Although supply has been limited, many investors want to tap into this investment potential. With the handful of new developments and facelifts underway in the area, it looks like Sheung Wan is on course for further transformation.
Shop Owners' Feedback
Habitat talked to shop owners in Sheung Wan to find out why they couldn’t be happier here:
“Being the second oldest road in Hong Kong (after Queen’s Road), Hollywood Road is obviously an area we should all cherish and help to make it a more vibrant, attractive and culturally interesting place for locals and tourists. Hollywood Road is the epicentre of the Hong Kong arts and collecting scene. I personally think the government can play a very important part in promoting Hollywood Road and Sheung Wan as a focus area for arts, collecting, lifestyle and many more.” – Bini Low, owner of Ruyi Gallery
“Because of Sheung Wan's proximity to the CBD, being here simply makes us more accessible to our primary clientele which include bankers, lawyers and professionals. Then there's the cultural and historical backdrop with Sheung Wan's East-meets-West architecture and traditional vendors that make this neighbourhood so much more colourful and vibrant especially for a boutique that cares about preserving tradition. At the same time, the area around Gough Street, Lascar Row, Tai Ping Shan Street and Po Hing Fong are ushering in a new wave of creativity and experimentation with fantastic cafés, restaurants, studios and boutiques. This juxtaposes old and new in a way we feel no other district in Hong Kong can match. We hope Sheung Wan keeps its soul as a breeding ground for creativity while harbouring and preserving the twilight industries and merchants of yesteryear.” – Jerry Tong, co-founder of Prologue
“Sheung Wan’s old meets new characteristics were the main appeal for us to open our salon here. Hollywood Road is the first road built after Hong Kong opened for trading. There are churches, temples and buildings that are over a hundred years old, and numerous antique shops, cafes and craftsmen that offer a mix of European, American, Japanese and local sensibilities. Sheung Wan is a fertile ground for cultural exchange and will continue to thrive this way.” – Marvin Lin, Creative Director of SHHH