The 18,000-square-foot mansion with 11 bedrooms represents a former era when wealthy mainland Chinese buyers flocked to Hong Kong for trophy properties.
(Bloomberg) — This story is the first of Bloomberg’s Open House series, featuring some of Hong Kong’s most interesting homes.
A developer is seeking to sell a huge mansion in Hong Kong for HK$2.2 billion ($281 million), a price that would that make the property among the city’s most expensive transactions, at a time when the luxury housing market is facing challenging conditions.
The 18,270-square-foot (1,697 sqm) house in the city’s upmarket Repulse Bay area was completed just over four years ago, before citywide protests and the pandemic shutdown curbed property transactions. The building, positioned between two roads, has some 11 bedrooms, eight bathrooms and an outside patio. The site, previously occupied by a five-story apartment block, was bought by local property firm First Group Holdings in 2014 for HK$350 million before being redeveloped, according to government data.
“The pricing is high amid current market conditions being soft,” said Victoria Allan, founder of Habitat Property, which is one of the agents for the house. Any mainland buyer would likely need to live in the city due to the difficulty of moving cash out of China, she said. Still, the house is one of a kind and will find an owner over time, with its premium due to the property’s rare size and prime location, she said.
The construction of the mansion finished with classical details dates back to a former era when wealthy mainland buyers including Alibaba’s Jack Ma and Tencent’s Pony Ma flocked to the city for trophy homes, supercharging the luxury property market. Across the city, ultra-high-end homes sold for record-breaking prices. In 2017, former mainland property billionaire Pan Sutong paid HK$2.5 billion for a house in nearby Deep Water Bay, home to a number of Hong Kong tycoons including Li Ka-shing.
The situation has changed a lot since. China’s crackdowns on private enterprise, tougher scrutiny on capital leaving the mainland and an economic slowdown have meant Chinese money is no longer pouring into Hong Kong’s property market. Instead, supply is increasing amid forced sales, with a wave of homes seized from embattled mainland property tycoons entering the market. Rising interest rates are also making loans more costly. Used home prices have fallen 13% from their 2021 peak and are now at levels first seen at the beginning of 2018, according to the property agency Centaline.
The area first became famous after the grand Repulse Bay Hotel was opened by the Kadoorie family in 1920. (The hotel was knocked down in 1982.) Repulse Bay is now a well-off area of mostly high- and low-rise apartment blocks built on slopes above one of the city’s most popular beaches, and is just a 20-minute drive from the financial district. This year, Wheelock & Co. chairman Douglas Woo bought a three-bedroom apartment in the area for about HK$60 million, while Jean Eric Salata, CEO of Baring Private Equity Asia, reportedly purchased a six-house development on Deep Water Bay Road for HK$3.6 billion.
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