A month ago, we highlighted a disturbing new record in the Hong Kong real-estate market – a market that received a ranking of “high” from Algebris Investment’s Alberto Gallo in his annual ranking of the world’s biggest asset bubbles.
According to a report in the South China Morning Post, the record price per square foot for a residence in Hong Kong was obliterated when a mystery buyer purchased two apartments in “The Peak” – an exclusive district.
At 132,000 Hong Kong dollars per square foot, the purchases made them the two most expensive apartments in Asia in terms of square footage. In total, the mystery buyer spent an astonishing 1.16 billion Hong Kong dollars (nearly $200 million) on the two apartments.
Today, the name of the mystery buyer has been revealed, courtesy of the South China Morning Post:
The Land Registry on Saturday identified the buyer as Lin Zhongmin, sparking frenzied media speculation about where the person comes from.
The two flats on the 12th floor of the exclusive residential development, with a combined area of 8,821 square feet, were sold last month.
One flat, measuring 4,242 square feet, fetched HK$560.2 million, or HK$132,060 per square foot, making it Asia’s most expensive residence by floor area. The adjoining flat, measuring 4,579 sq ft, sold for HK$604.2 million, or HK$132,059 per square foot.
According to the SCMP, the name of the buyer is not widely known in Hong Kong. The paper ventured to guess that he is from the main land, meaning the buyer would have to pay a double stamp duty of 15% on one flat plus the basic stamp duty of 4.25% on the other. The total would come to about $110 million Hong Kong dollars.
Whoever Lin is, it’s safe to assume he has a personal wealth in the billions.
“It would be logical to assume that anyone who can afford to spend more than HK$1 billion on two flats would have a personal wealth of at least HK$10 billion,” Vincent Cheung, deputy managing director for Asia valuation and advisory services at Colliers International, said.
"They may not even have bought the flats to live in as they most probably have other homes."
With the purchase of these two apartments, Mount Nicholson now has Asia’s three most expensive homes. In addition to the two bought by Lin, another flat – measuring 4,266 square feet - was sold in November for 500 million Hong Kong dollars ($60 million).
The buyer of that flat was mainland businessman Zhu Xingliang, the founder of Suzhou Gold Mantis Construction Decoration, which is engaged in the interior design, construction and landscaping sectors.
In the global league table, Hong Kong held on to the dubious accolade of being the world’s most expensive place to live for the seventh straight year in 2017, according to Oxford Economics. The median home price was 18.1 times the median annual pretax household income last year.