Priciest homes on the planet: Hong Kong

The historic Ho Tung Garden recently sold for $657.8M

75 Peak Road, a historic site in Hong Kong, sold for $657.8 million in 2015
75 Peak Road, a historic site in Hong Kong, sold for $657.8 million in 2015

From the February issue: A year ago, the sale of a penthouse at One57 shook up the New York City real estate world when it shattered the $100 million marker.

While that $100.5 million record-setting deal could soon be surpassed — the Chetrit Group is asking $150 million for a penthouse at 550 Madison Avenue and a buyer is reportedly in contract on a $200 million-plus mega unit at the under-construction 220 Central Park South — New York’s priciest residential properties pale in comparison to some of their counterparts in other global cities.

This month, The Real Deal sifted through land registry records, public listings and news reports and also interviewed experts to find the priciest residential listings and most expensive recent sales on the planet. We begin with Hong Kong, which saw the priciest global sale of 2015.

Hong Kong
75 Peak Road
$657.8 million (sale)

Hong Kong saw its priciest-ever residential sale early last year, when a property at 75 Peak Road sold for $657.8 million, according to global real estate firm Savills.

The dizzying price tag was partly due to the rarity of the site, which is known as Ho Tung Garden. Once home to a historic villa, the 2.8-acre site is considered an important example of Chinese Renaissance architecture. The seller, however, razed the property’s main house, so the site — which is located in Victoria Peak, also known as the Peak, one of Hong Kong’s most exclusive neighborhoods — is technically a developable piece of land. It was, however, classified as a residential sale.

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A mainland tycoon and Hong Kong developer named Chung Kiu Cheung was the buyer, according to the South China Morning Post. The government has urged him to preserve the grounds.

While not every property comes with the opportunity to redevelop a historic plot, space is at a premium in Hong Kong, with $1 million only buying 215 square feet, according to Knight Frank’s annual Wealth Report. Nonetheless, the city’s other priciest homes don’t come close to this one.

The second most expensive reported sale of 2015 came from Alibaba CEO Jack Ma, who shelled out $193 million for a four-story home, also on the Peak. The home has seven living rooms, a rooftop terrace overlooking Victoria Harbour and a 20,000-square-foot private garden, the Hong Kong Free Press reported.

Given that Hong Kong is one of the world’s most densely populated cities, it’s not surprising that many of the most desirable and highest-priced apartments are those that offer some seclusion. David Ji, who heads up a research and consultancy team for Knight Frank in China, said the prime locations are “away from hustle and bustle of the urban streets.”

Twelve Peaks, a 12-house development on the Peak, fits that bill. The priciest home at the exclusive project is expected to ask $105.6 million. At $22,666 a square foot, that’s the highest priced home per square foot in Asia, the Wall Street Journal reported last summer.

Meanwhile, the city’s priciest sale of an apartment in 2015 was a $64.1 million pad at the Opus Hong Kong, a 12-unit building in the Peak designed by starchitect Frank Gehry, according to Ji. The 5,188-square-foot unit fetched $12,380 per square foot.

Adrian To, residential director at Swire Properties, Opus’ developer, said interest in high-end residential properties continues to grow in the city, but the limited land supply is causing some buyers to be more “prudent.”