From the master bedroom, a glass door opens to a marble-tiled en-suite bath with a round tub and a glass-enclosed shower. A children’s bedroom has built-in beds with folding screens and movable partitions, and a study or guest room has an exposed brick wall and floor-to-ceiling window.
A covered parking spot on the ground level of the building is included with the apartment, Ms. Chan said.
The home is a five- to 10-minute walk from the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens and Hong Kong Park. It is also close to Pacific Place, a shopping mall and entertainment complex; hotels like the Four Seasons and Mandarin Oriental; and restaurants and bars in the SoHo and Lan Kwai Fong neighborhoods. Hong Kong International Airport is about a half-hour drive away.
The property market in Hong Kong, which is fueled by domestic demand, is “still going strong,” Ms. Chan said, as prices continue to rise.
After recovering from setbacks like the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the 2003 outbreak of SARS, “the Hong Kong market has been on an incredible run,” said James Fisher, director of market analysis and analytics for Spacious Hong Kong, a real estate platform that has this listing. Prices have gone up nearly 500 percent since 2003, he said, making Hong Kong “the most unaffordable market in the world.”
Cooling measures that have been implemented by the Hong Kong government since 2009, Mr. Fisher said, have focused on “mortgage lending restrictions and special taxes or stamp duties, aimed to reduce demand from investors and reduce demand from foreign buyers, particularly mainland Chinese, who many believe have been driving up the price for locals.”
But following a brief housing market slowdown that lasted from the fourth quarter of 2015 to the third quarter of 2016, “amidst Hong Kong’s economic slowdown and decline in tourist arrivals,” Ms. Chan said, “house prices recovered rapidly by the end of 2016.”
The number of buyers from mainland China has dropped, said Koh Keng Shing, founder and chief executive of Landscope Christies, which is also marketing the listing. But “despite government measures, the prices are still rising,” Mr. Koh said, and last year they increased by 15 to 20 percent. Inventory, he added, is merely “trickling in, not enough to fill the demand.”
Mr. Fisher said about 20,000 units are being built every year.
The strongest segment of the market, Ms. Chan said, is “rare and prime luxurious property,” particularly new development or single-lot houses in the Peak and South Side areas of Hong Kong Island. In November, a new home on Mount Nicholson sold for 132,000 Hong Kong dollars (or about $16,885) a square foot, breaking the previous record.
WHO BUYS IN HONG KONG
“In the last 10 years, over 95 percent of the foreign buyers are mainland Chinese,” Mr. Koh said. “The non-Chinese foreign buyers find it too high to buy here.”
Mainland Chinese often buy Hong Kong residential properties “as a hedge against currency and political risk that they are facing elsewhere,” Ms. Chan said.
There are a few British buyers who settled in Hong Kong long ago, Mr. Koh said, and some buyers from the United States who are ultra-wealthy business owners.
Besides longtime British expats, who are regarded as locals, Ms. Chan said, she has also had buyers from Sweden and elsewhere who own businesses in Hong Kong.
Real estate commissions are negotiable, but the buyer and seller each typically pay about 1 percent of the sale price.
Buyers and sellers have their own lawyers; the seller’s lawyer provides the formal agreement. Legal fees are about 0.1 percent of the sale price, Ms. Chan said.
Mortgages require a 50 percent down payment on transactions over 10 million Hong Kong dollars (or $1.3 million) for a first home and are difficult for foreigners to obtain, Mr. Fisher said. Second homes require 40 percent down. Chinese government regulations require financial institutions to disclose the assets of foreign buyers, including mainland Chinese and global investors.
Hong Kong official tourism site: discoverhongkong.com
Hong Kong Estate Agents Authority: eaa.org.hk
LANGUAGES AND CURRENCY
Chinese, English; Hong Kong dollar (1 Hong Kong dollar = $0.13)
TAXES AND FEES
Regardless of whether they are purchasing a first or second home, foreign buyers pay a stamp duty of 30 percent (an additional 15 percent stamp duty on top of the 15 percent paid by local buyers on a second or third home), said Chris Liem, owner and principal of Engel & Völkers Hong Kong. And if the property is resold within six months to three years, an additional tax of 10 to 25 percent is levied, Ms. Chan said.
The Chinese government owns nearly all the land in Hong Kong. Under 50-year land leases, unit owners pay a small amount of rent rather than property taxes. The land lease for this apartment is 32,000 Hong Kong dollars (about $4,090) a year. The maintenance fee is 3,000 Hong Kong dollars (about $380) a month.
Agents include Binoche Chan, Hong Kong Sotheby’s International Realty, 011-852-3793-3672, hksothebysrealty.com; Koh Keng Shing, Landscope Christies, 011-852-3102-4888, landscope-christies.com; and James Fisher, Spacious Hong Kong, 011-852-3460-4713, spacious.hk