Unidentified Buyer Paid HK$75,806 (US$9,773) Per Square Foot
Hong Kong’s ballooning real estate prices — which continue to please some developers while frustrating the city’s beleaguered middle class — hit a new high this week with the sale of a 6,200 square-feet (576 square-meter) apartment at the Frank Gehry-designed Opus Hong Kong building. Billed as Hong Kong’s most exclusive address upon its completion this spring, Opus entered the market at a time of considerable uncertainty, yet buyers continue to spend record-breaking amounts as Hong Kong’s “superluxury” property segment steamrolls ahead. As the New York Times noted this May:
Opus is reaching the market as doubts swirl about Hong Kong property. In interviews, analysts and agents predicted a decline of 10 percent to 15 percent in residential prices this year. The local media have reported that Hong Kong’s new chief executive, who will take office in July, may alter land policy to loosen the grip of major developers, which could drive prices down.
Hong Kong property is among the world’s most expensive, partly because the government controls land supply, and there is precious little buildable land left. It is a city where high-rises hold as many tiny homes as possible, where even ordinary new offerings of property for sale result in huge lines and where the police stop overly aggressive real estate agents from harassing passers-by. Against this backdrop of frantic buying and selling, Opus is something of an anomaly: a relatively small superluxury development that Swire expects to hold onto itself.
Aside from its enviable placement atop Hong Kong in the Peak residential area and world-famous designer, Opus also stands out the (relative) vastness of its units. The entire building is made up of only 12 units, each comprising an entire floor and with a unique layout, ranging from 6,000 to 6,900 square feet. For reference, the average Hong Kong home averages around one-tenth of that. The building is also notable because builder Swire always had the intention to rent, rather than sell units. That is, as the New York Times pointed out, unless a potential buyer made “an exceptional offer.” $61 million is exactly that, though Swire has yet to definitively confirm the deal. From the AFP:
“We have no information to share at this point,” [Swire] spokeswoman May Lam-Kobayashi told AFP.
She added however that tenants recently leased another unit at the property for HK$850,000 a month.
Local media reported that the sale beat the city’s previous record price of HK$360 million paid for a unit at another luxury property last year.
“This is definitely a new record price for any Hong Kong apartment,” Centaline research head Wong Leung-sing told AFP. “But we think it’s an isolated case as this is an ultra luxury condo,” Wong said, adding that it could not be used as a yardstick to gauge investors’ appetite for luxury apartments in the Asian financial hub.