HK penthouse sells for B2.2 billion

HONG KONG: A luxury penthouse in Hong Kong has set a price record for apartment sales in Asia, even as the government seeks to tame property prices in the world’s least affordable market.

The penthouse duplex at 39 Conduit Road was sold for HK$522 million (US$67 million or 2.23 billion baht), the Sing Tao Daily newspaper reported on Saturday, citing an unidentified person.

The unit covers 4,971 square feet (465 square metres) and comes with a private swimming pool and three parking spaces. The selling price works out to HK$105,000 per square foot or 4.78 million baht per square metre — about seven times the price of the most expensive condos in Bangkok. 

Sales at 39 Conduit Road first opened in 2009 and the building has been a magnet for wealthy if secretive investors. The first 24 units in the building were all bought by companies registered in the British Virgin Islands, all using the same law firm.

Representatives of the developer, Henderson Land Development Co, did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment sent outside of business hours.

Hong Kong home prices have hit all-time highs this year, shrugging off government restrictions to cool the market as well as concerns that another real-estate crash could deal a heavy blow to the wealth of the territory’s 7.4 million people and destabilise its financial system. The Centa-City Leading Index compiled by Centaline Property has climbed 11% this year, extending the gain in the last five years to more than 60%.

Private home prices in Hong Kong climbed for a 17th straight month in July, according to the latest data released by the Rating and Valuation Department. That is the longest winning streak since 1993, the Hong Kong Economic Times reported.

Luxury home prices in Hong Kong regularly break Asian records. In November, two units in phase two of Wheelock Properties’ Mount Nicholson project on Victoria Peak were sold at an average price of HK$104,800 per square foot, a regional record that was trumped by the latest sale, Sing Tao reported.

It now takes a household 18 years of median income to buy a home in Hong Kong, more than anywhere else in the world, data from Demographia shows. That compares with just over 12 years in Sydney, eight and a half years in London and under six years for the wider New York metropolitan area.

The Hong Kong government in May tightened rules on bank lending for property development after expressing worries about banks’ exposure to the real-estate industry as developers bid up land prices.

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