An increasing number of housing estates in Hong Kong are becoming more pet friendly in a nod to homebuyers and residents who have adopted cats and dogs during the coronavirus pandemic, developers said.
About half of the city’s major estates now allowed pets, up from 40 per cent in 2018, according to property consultancy Knight Frank.
“As people have been staying home and in town because of travel restrictions … more developers have considered adding some pet-friendly facilities to their projects,” said Martin Wong, director and head of research and consultancy, Greater China, at Knight Frank.
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The trend towards accommodating pets is part of a wider shift among property developers taking place around the world, as companies allow remote working arrangements. These arrangements are triggering a change in homebuyers’ and tenants’ preferences, according to developers. With workers adopting cats and dogs to keep them company at home, they are looking for units more suitable for their animals.
And the developers are adapting too. For instance, residents, mall goers and hotel guests are allowed to live, shop and stay with their beloved four-legged companions at Sun Hung Kai Properties’ (SHKP) Victoria Harbour, a mixed-use development in North Point.
“SHKP is conscious of pets becoming popular with many families in Hong Kong and, as such, is trying to make its residential developments pet friendly wherever appropriate,” a spokesman said.
“Victoria Harbour in North Point harbourfront is a key example, where residents or tenants can keep pets at home, as well as bringing them to designated outdoor garden areas on the podium outside the clubhouse, or the BBQ area.”
Just outside the residential buildings is a public dog park and paths for walking pets, while the shopping centre in the development also welcomes shoppers who bring their pets along, as long as they put them in strollers or pet bags.
“With more families welcoming pets into their homes, SHKP will continue to look for ways to improve the pet friendliness of our properties, including installing water points and dog latrines in common areas where appropriate,” the spokesman said.
And Hong Kong is not alone in this. Potential homebuyers did not show up for scheduled viewings in Sydney, Australia after finding out that pets were off-limits at a property.
“Demand for homes with space for a pet, or overlooking a park, has also increased as many buyers have added to their family and adopted a dog. A few weeks ago, we had 29 enquiries for a new apartment in Rose Bay. As the building doesn’t allow pets only three buyers turned up for a viewing as the remaining 26 owned a dog,” said Michael Pallier, managing director, Sydney Sotheby’s International Realty.
Yarra One, a project of developer EcoWorld International Australia, in Melbourne also features pet-friendly amenities. The building has a pet wash facility. It has also partnered with a business that provides pet grooming, walking and sitting services, which gives residents access to a range of discounted pet facilities.
In Singapore, GuocoLand’s Midtown Modern, located in the hip district of Bugis, is designed with work from home arrangements in mind and consideration for pet owners, according to Dora Chng, general manager (residential) at the developer.
“Generously-sized balconies provide spaces to house pets with natural air ventilation. The four-bedroom premium units also have a balcony extension to the master bedroom. Midtown Modern comes with a cosy pet corner, located next to the tennis court, where pets and their owners can play … and meet like-minded neighbours,” she said.
Hong Kong-based Swire Properties anticipated the changes in homebuyers’ preferences at its Eight Star Street in Wan Chai. The project has roofs for each of the eight units, which residents can enjoy as a private garden or patio. Its Eden project in Singapore features hanging balconies with hand-picked tropical greenery, giving residents private gardens.