HONG KONG (Bloomberg) - A luxury home in Hong Kong 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 unit in Henderson Land Development's 39 Conduit Road project in Mid-Levels was sold for about HK$522 million (S$90.7 million), or HK$105,000 per sq ft, the city's Sing Tao Daily reported on Saturday (Sept 30), citing an unidentified person.
Company representatives did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment sent outside of business hours.
Hong Kong home prices 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 city's 7.4 million people and destabilise its financial system.
Centaline Property's Centa-City Leading Index has climbed 11 per cent this year, extending the gain in the last five years to more than 60 per cent.
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, 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's Mount Nicholson project on Hong Kong's prestigious Victoria Peak were sold at an average per square foot price of HK$104,800, 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, 8½ in London and under six years for the wider New York metropolitan area.
Hong Kong's 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.
The local monetary authority in the same month introduced fresh curbs on second-home mortgages as well as borrowers whose income is derived mainly from overseas sources.
The recently sold home was initially offered at HK$537.7 million, Sing Tao reported. The 4,971-sq-ft unit comes with a private swimming pool and three parking spaces.
Not Without Controversies
When 39 Conduit Road was first launched in 2009, it courted many controversies.
The developer Henderson Land marketed the top floor as the 88th, when it was only the 46th floor, Asia Times reported.
Apparently, the developer had removed the inauspicious number 4 - which sounds similar to the word "death" in both Mandarin and Cantonese - on relevant floors, and left out 13th until the 39th floor. It named the 40th floor the 60th, the 45th floor as the 68th and the top 46th floor became the 88th.
Following an outcry by Hong Kong media over the uncommon practice, Henderson Land reverted to the original scale, according to the Asia Times.
More problems followed when many of the expensive units that were priced at about HK$40,000 per sq ft - at least twice as high as that of a neighbouring complex on Conduit Road - were not completed fast enough.
A year after its initial launch, Henderson Land confirmed that only four of the 24 units had been completed.