Hong Kong is top ultra-prime residential market of the year

Nearly 50 transactions worth more than USD25 million each in the city

Hong Kong as seen from the peak at sunrise. Patrick Foto/Shutterstock

Hong Kong over the past year has registered the highest sales in the world for ultra-prime homes or those worth at least USD25 million, according to a new report by Knight Frank.

In the 12 months to August, the Chinese SAR racked up a world-leading 47 transactions in the ultra-prime segment with a total value of USD2.5 billion, followed by New York with 39 transactions (USD1.5 billion) and London with 38 (USD1.5 billion).

“With attractive education options, low taxation and an established and strong legal system, as well as a relatively stable political environment – the city offers an attractive environment for wealthy individuals,” Knight Frank analysts wrote.

Although severely unaffordable for many locals, residential property in Hong Kong has been a lucrative investment due to the absence of capital gains taxes and inheritance taxes.

Most properties that have transacted above USD25 million are in The Peak or Island South.

Over a three-year period ending August, London and Hong Kong both rank top globally with the average annual value of ultra-prime transactions totalling USD2.1 billion in each city.

The average transaction value in Hong Kong stood at USD52.8 million in the year to August—a global best. Singapore ranks second in this measure at USD44.1 million, followed by Sydney with USD43.8 million.

“Singapore is undoubtedly an ultra-prime market – although it sees the smallest number of transaction numbers compared to our other city markets,” Knight Frank noted in its report.

Cooling measures have tempered ultra-prime sales in the city-state since the financial crisis, analysts added. The ASEAN city recorded only two transactions valued at more than USD25 million in 2016, but it has since recovered with five in 2017 and 11 in the first eight months of 2018.