Living in Clearwater Bay, Sai Kung: Interview with Annette Steadson
Annette, you have been a successful and active agent for a number of years now, and pretty much an expert in this district. How long have you lived in Clearwater Bay ?
We have now been living here for the past eight years. My husband Andrew and I bought a village house that was a shell, literally just walls with no floor, no windows or doors. The house was originally three separate units, and the previous owner had purchased over time all three units with the intention of renovating into one house. We had three school aged children to consider and to their horror and mine too a little, it was such a mess, I mean really a mess.
But we fell in love with the area and could see the potential of the place, with it’s close proximity to the beach and MTR, and once we saw from the roof that the house had stunning and panoramic water views surrounded by mountains and the sea, we knew we could work some magic and create a beautiful home for our family out of this skeleton of a house.
Andrew and I set to work to create our dream home - with the help of the kids. We were approached by several interior designers who asked us who was going to design for us, and we said “we know what we like - we can do it”. We are all so very happy we finally did.
We have met many people in Hong Kong over our 15 years here, who have also lived here for a number of years. They will often say to me that they regret not buying, 18 years later they had not bought any property. They would say ”all that rent we paid,.. HK property prices … we should have bought”. We didn’t want to be those people....
What drew you to the area?
The space.... more space for your dollar...... the lifestyle....of course the beaches, the mountains and hiking trails.... the relaxed atmosphere and the clean fresh air.
Who lives here, ie expats, locals, families, singles, celebrities?
Everybody lives here. Really it is an eclectic mix of diverse people that get on. It is a real community.
We have politicians, actors, university professors, specialist surgeons, philanthropists, school owners, bankers, teachers, entrepreneurs, architects, and plenty more. I recently hosted a dinner at the Hong Kong Golf and Tennis Academy in the famous Chinese restaurant Fan Guan. We had 18 people from our area. It was great to see everybody mix so well. We are a community.
https://www.hkgta.com/ I cannot speak highly enough of this club. This is a truly amazing and world class Club that has the looks and feel of a six star resort with state of the art facilities. The swimming pools and spa are luxurious, the restaurants and dining are superb, such a great variety of delicious food, the whole place has incredibly friendly and helpful staff, and they also have designer townhouses and accommodation to stay at. I would recommend for anyone coming into the area to join. It’s a great way to meet new people and families in the area. If you are interested, I am only too happy to arrange a tour of the club for you.
What’s it like living in a beach area?
WE LOVE WE LOVE
Clear Water Beach at 7 am is wonderful … quiet … clean, (I don’t get there enough but it really is an amazing start for the day) you can find me there and the local Chinese grandpas and grandmas, swimming and stretching. I am always amazed by these people, they are still up early, walking and exercising ... they make me forget my problems and aches.... I hope at 80 I am as active as these lovely oldies !
Both our Clear Water Bay beaches have shark nets out and life guard patrols during the summer months, so it makes it nice and safe for swimming. Our beaches are always rated the cleanest in Hong Kong.
On the weekends, everyone is in shorts and flip flops. It’s a great place to fire up the BBQ and have friends around. That’s what I mean about our layed back lifestyle. We feel that we have the best of everything without being miles away. And we are pet friendly.
What sort of amenities are in the area ie supermarkets, shops schools etc ?
There is a super market at nearby Fusion that has everything. I go in for milk and bread and often come out $1500 lighter....
Hang Hau has a big shopping mall with many affordable shops. We even have a Marks & Spencer !
Quite a few of Hong Kong's international schools have recently set up new campuses in the New Territories and surrounding area. Plus, there has been an influx of new schools with more in the works. We have a number of choices form kindergarten to senior. We’ve got the international school here in Clear Water Bay School (ESF), and there are buses available to other International Schools around the area such as The Australian International School, Stamford American School, French International School, Hong Kong Academy and more. This was definitely a major draw for us having our school aged family to be close to good schools.
Restaurants and night life activities?
Hang Hau village is adorable, a mix of local restaurants that include Thai and Italian that have been there for 18 years, Llardos a steak restaurant which belongs to TLC deli where you can buy all your great quality Australian / meats. It is low key, relaxed, everybody blends in. I say low key as I walked past an outside table of diners at La piazza Italian restaurant and on their table sat a bottle of "Grange" ….. I stopped and smiled and said GRANGE … Wow !! To be able to enjoy expensive wine at a little “cheap and cheerful” outside restaurant is pretty great ! The older Chinese man replied “Life IS too short !! … Enjoy... why not !!! There are lessons to be learnt from everybody.... if we just take time to stop.
DaVinci cook is one of my family’s favourites. They have a large menu to accommodate all tastes, even my vegan daughter.
We are earlier risers out here so not too much night life, you know what they say the early bird gets the worm, people do cook more in their homes, because we actually have the space for a decent sized kitchen and dining areas for having dinner parties.
Sai Kung square has many restaurants, and is always very popular and buzzing especially amongst the large percentage of westerners who live in the area. Some of the more well known are Jaspers , The Conservatory and Momentai who has new owners with some live music.
Convenience of living ie: if you work in Central how do you commute , what options for getting about?
We love Clear Water Bay for its convenience to Hang Hau MTR station. Half an hour on the train is all it takes to Central.
We are in Ng Fai Tin … it is a lovely village and close to the MTR. There are plenty of residents who drive in to Central or any of the business districts each day, which is great if you have parking at both ends.
Do you know much of the history of the area?
Any interesting points on the area that not everyone would know?
I don’t really want to share but I will ... Little Palm Beach … at the end of Hang Hau Wing Lung Road. Park and walk down. Here you will come across a small yacht club .. they have no bar or restaurant, but they DO SAIL. It’s also becoming a little popular for scuba diving from here. The whole area is really suited to people who love any kind of boating or water sports. You’ve got marina clubs like Clear Water Bay Marina and Hebe Haven, all have excellent facilities and services for their members and are actually quite popular for entertaining guests with outdoor dining and drinks overlooking the harbour.
What would be your advice to people in selecting a property to buy and same for leasing in the area?
There is great demand these days for people looking to rent places as so many great schools have moved into the area As an owner or potential buyer, and you renovate to a western style you can get a premium rental (if you need help please call me). If you are able to get parking near your house then this is a real bonus.
The new residential developments or as we say in the industry “first hand” market, again has been a huge winner in our area. I do have many opportunities to pick up some value so any potential buyers should call me.
Village houses can be tricky with land/ government access/ right of way there are many factors when buying. Always use a reputable agent and a legal advisor to ensure you are buying what the agent is saying you are buying. Buy with somebody you trust and always seek professional assistance.
Any funny experiences that are uniquely because you live in Clear Water Bay /Sai Kung?
Just some advice … vaccinate your dogs ... and don’t feed the pigs or the wild boar.....
Annette Steadson is an Associate Director at Engel & Voelkers who specialises in property sales and leasing in her home area of Clear Water Bay and Sai Kung. Contact Annette on MOB: + 852 9859 5015