Wheelock gets second time lucky, finds buyer for house in Asia's priciest address after offering extra sweeteners

By Lam Ka-sing kasing.lam@scmp.com / https://www.scmp.com/property/hong-kong-china/article/3009251/wheelock-gets-second-time-lucky-finds-buyer-house-asias?utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=contentexchange&utm_source=EdgeProp | May 14, 2019 10:48 AM SGT
The developers of Mount Nicholson, Asia's priciest address, have found a new buyer for a 7,978 square feet villa, four months after the previous buyer reneged on a deal.
On Monday, Wheelock Properties sold House 16 at the ultra exclusive development on The Peak for HK$720 million (US$91.74 million), or HK$90,248 per square foot. It was also HK$1.88 million, or 0.3 per cent, cheaper than the cancelled sale.
Wheelock did not identify the buyer.
The new deal allows for the transaction to be completed in a year's time, compared to just 30 days for other homes sold in the project.
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Mount Nicholson has three of the most expensive houses in Asia. Photo: Sam Tsang
"The developer offered [extra sweeteners] to speed up the deal because of the [proposed] vacancy tax [that will be levied on unsold empty flats]," said Derek Chan, head of research at Ricacorp Properties.
In January, an unidentified buyer did not proceed with the transaction for House 16 after agreeing to pay HK$721.88 million, forfeiting the 5 per cent deposit of HK$36.09 million.
The December transaction was HK$58.12 million, or 7.4 per cent, lower than the price of House 17 which was sold in April 2018.
Eight houses remain unsold in Mount Nicholson, which has pulled in about HK$10.4 billion from the sale of 13 houses.
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Cliff Tse, senior director of valuation advisory services at JLL, said the vacancy tax had forced developers to speed up sales.
"There were only 500 unsold units in completed projects in the first quarter, a sign that developers have speeded up the sales of new projects," Tse said. "Although it is yet to be passed by the Legislative Council, developers are expected to be more sensitive to the market sentiment and adjust their construction progress."
The vacancy tax was proposed by Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor in late June last year and is expected to be passed by the Legislative Council this year.
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The tax, officially known as "Special Rates", will levy a tax equivalent to 200 per cent of the rateable value of new completed homes that have not been sold or leased for six months or more within one year after the occupation permit is issued.
Separately, new homes sold in April averaged HK$9.98 million, the lowest in six months and marked the fourth straight month of decline, despite a rebound in transaction volumes, according to data from Ricacorp.
This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2019 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.
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