Turning master bedrooms into suite deal

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 August, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 August, 2005, 12:00am

Houses built for connoisseurs of luxury living who expect sleeping quarters with space, style - and a jacuzzi

For most of us, an en suite bathroom is a mark of luxury. Not so for some of today's connoisseurs of sumptuous living.

Imagine a master bedroom that includes an office, walk-in closets and a jacuzzi along with the usual bath and shower stall. Those are the features included in the 14 new houses at 33 Cape Road, Chung Hom Kok. The development, built by small developer Tai Cheung (Holdings), will be put up for public sale in the next two weeks.

The 3,100 sq ft, three-storey houses will each have a dining room on the first floor, and two bedrooms and one family room on the second floor. All 900 sq ft of the third floor, however, will be given over to the master suite.

'The style of luxury living is changing,' said Tai Cheung chairman David Chan Pun. 'Because families are smaller, the owners do not need four or five small bedrooms. They prefer a spacious master suite.'

He said the huge master suite was a special feature of the project, designed to draw buyers, and was a dramatic departure from the philosophy of most developers who believed that buyers wanted more bedrooms.

'Master suites are not just for sleeping - people commonly see them as a getaway or home office,' Mr Chan said.

Jane Garnett, CB Richard Ellis' director of residential services, said homeowners loved four-bedroom units, regardless of family size. 'A couple without kids also want a four-bedroom unit,' she said, predicting that the trend would last for a few years.

But she said the big master bedrooms at 33 Cape Road would be welcomed by end-users who would be able to 'cut themselves off from everything'.

The jacuzzi would add to the appeal. 'I will not say it is completely unique, but it is not a standard feature seen in luxury homes,' Ms Garnett said.

Mandy Ng Chuk-yin, sales manager at Tai Cheung, said the target selling price was around $15,000 per sq ft, or about $45 million to $50 million per house.

Property agents said the prices of nearby houses in the secondary market varied, depending on the age of the property. For instance, a 23-year-old unit in Pinewave Villas was sold recently for $8,500 per sq ft. One agent said some of the units in the development overlooked government subsidised housing, which would deter some luxury homebuyers.

Another challenge is the succession of interest rate increases, which is taking its toll on the property market: the purchase volume fell almost 30 per cent last month.

Agents said luxury residential homes were not as sensitive to spiralling interest rates as the mass housing market because buyers had strong purchasing power. A slow market, however, would mean that buyers looking for luxury property would expect lower prices, they said.

Hong Kong's interest rates have risen five times so far this year. The prime lending rate of 6.75 per cent is now at its highest level in four years. Mortgage rates now stand at between 4.75 per cent and 5 per cent - more than double the record-low rates of just 2 per cent at the beginning of the year.