New properties in Mid-Levels are few and far between, which is why they command top prices and still attract willing buyers.
The keen demand is best illustrated by the acquisition of the Arts Mansion by a private equity fund last year. The fund paid more than HK$1.8 billion for 90 per cent of the old building in Conduit Road, which works out at HK$12,000 per square foot. At that cost, it is expected that the developer will have to command a price tag of more than HK$30,000 for a square foot of space when the project goes on sale a few years from now.
Apart from limited supply, premium prices are also underpinned by the innovative architectural design and state-of-the-art facilities of new developments. These days, new projects often come with a curved fa?ade with double-glazed tempered glass.
'The new projects have so many compelling features. A fully fitted and equipped kitchen can cost the developer more than a million dollars, so it is difficult for older homes to be comparable in terms of quality,' says Midland Realty director Patrick Fung.
Ben Or, assistant sales director at Ricacorp Properties, based in Mid-Levels West, says: 'Overall, new homes are 10 per cent to 15 per cent more expensive than previously owned properties. The price difference can be up to 50 per cent for some brand-new trophy homes.'
New Mid-Levels properties include Azura and Argenta by Swire Properties, The Seymour and Pierre by Wing Tai, Kennedy Park by Cheung Kong, and Conduit Road and Centrepoint by Henderson Land. Unit prices start at about HK$16,000 per square foot.
Wing Tai's The Seymour has 82 units, including large apartments at 1,888 sqft and 2,348 sqft. It has just opened its lavish clubhouse, which is based on French architecture. The three-floor building has a swimming pool, spa and banquet hall.
Azura features a luxury clubhouse with a heated outdoor pool. Seeing a positive market response, Swire has been raising the prices of units, sold on a batch-by-batch basis, since the launch. A 1,679 sqft property in Unit C on the 16th floor was sold for HK$32.27 million, or HK$19,220 per square foot, last year.
Argenta has just been put on the market.
The project comprises only 30 apartments, and their average price is about HK$27,000 per square foot.