HK buyers fall for Venetian charms

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 March, 2006, 12:00am

Venice, historic city of canals and hub of European culture, has begun to attract Hongkongers with big purses.

The attractions of Venice lie in the city's fame and beauty, some attractive house pricing and the potential benefits of a euro investment, according to a developer who was recently in Hong Kong to market an Italian property.

Vivaldi was here to sell Marina di Portegrandi, a 230-hectare project on preserved parkland near the historic centre of Venice. Thirteen residential units were sold.

The largest apartment was built in a 16th-century church. The 1,291 sqft property, which has a 2,260 sqft garden, went for $4.61 million. 'It's good in terms of sales, given that it's the first Italian property to be marketed here,' said Vivaldi chairman Enrico Rondinelli.

Other deals made in Hong Kong ranged from $1.33 million to $2.99 million for units of 592 sqft to 870 sqft.

Buyers also had to pay a 20 per cent value-added tax for the notary and solicitor.

The prices, between $2,150 and $3,050 per sqft, were lower than those for other properties around the coastal areas of Venice, where units were selling from $4,300 to $8,650 per sqft.

Mr Rondinelli said Hong Kong people were drawn to Venice as a way of diversifying their euro investments.

A tax of 12.5 per cent on capital gains must be paid in Italy if a foreign owner sells a property within five years.

Rental expectations for the apartments were around 6 per cent to 7 per cent of the purchasing cost a year, according to the developer.

Diana Lilauwala of property agent At Home said: 'Most of the buyers are users and will use the properties as holiday homes.'

The development has more than 110 apartments, a four-star hotel, a clubhouse, a shopping centre and marine moorings.