- Five-bedroom villa has pool, garden, elevator, sweeping views
- Property sold to unknown buyer in just three hours by tender
Wheelock Properties Ltd. sold a luxury home in Hong Kong’s exclusive Peak neighborhood to an unidentified buyer for a lower-than-expected price tag of HK$830 million ($107 million) on Saturday.
While it took Wheelock just three hours to sell the home, the transaction works out to HK$87,784 per square foot, more than 25 percent lower than estimates by some analysts. The sale shows that the ultra-luxury segment isn’t immune from a downturn in the broader housing market in Hong Kong, where prices have fallen 11 percent since September and analysts such as Bocom International Holdings Co.’s Alfred Lau are expecting declines of as much as 30 percent in 2016.
"I am very surprised," said Danny Leung, principal senior account manager in the stately homes division at Centaline Property Agency Ltd. who expected the home to fetch as much as HK$120,000 per square foot.
The five-bedroom, 9,455 square foot (878 square meter) house, which boasts a swimming pool, garden and elevator, has unobstructed views of Hong Kong and Victoria Harbour, Wheelock said in a statement Sunday. Its facade and interiors were designed by New York-based architect Robert Stern.
The villa is the first of 17 units offered for sale at the Mount Nicholson project jointly developed by Wheelock and Nan Fung Development Ltd., and was offered by tender between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. “to test the waters” and gauge market demand, the company said in an e-mail. The sale price was the highest of five offers made for the home, and Wheelock said it was "satisfied with the result and is positive about the property market."
David Ji, Knight Frank LLP’s head of research and consultancy for Greater China, said that given the lower-than-expected price, Wheelock won’t be in any hurry to release more houses, translating into a slowdown in sales.
"This year there are lots of uncertainties," he said. “This is a very expensive, prestigious development and they would rather not sell it cheaply."
In November, Swire Properties Ltd. sold the last apartment, on the 12th floor at its Frank Gehry-designed Opus Hong Kong project, for HK$509.6 million, or HK$93,609 per square foot, according to Midland Realty. Analysts had expected the Mount Nicholson sale to exceed this price because standalone properties typically command a premium over apartments.
Stamp duty on the Mount Nicholson property could amount to about HK$35.3 million for a first-time Hong Kong resident buyer, while a non-resident would need to pay around HK$195.1 million in duties, based on Hong Kong government stamp duty rates.
The most expensive sale of a Hong Kong property was HK$1.5 billion for a house at 22 Barker Road, on the Peak, sold to Alibaba founder Jack Ma in August, the South China Morning Post reported at the time. Bloomberg has not been able to independently confirm that Ma was the buyer.