Investments go a lot further in Switzerland

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 February, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 February, 2010, 12:00am

Investors with a HK$30 million budget will find their money does not buy much in the way of luxury apartments in Hong Kong.

But it goes a lot further in Switzerland, where it can buy a top-notch serviced apartment overlooking the Alps and Lake Geneva.

Amous Lee, director of International Investment at Knight Frank, said it was hard to buy an apartment in the Mid-Levels with HK$30 million because home prices have gone up significantly.

A 1,981-square-foot unit at the 19-year-old Dynasty Court in Old Peak Road - a prestigious address in Hong Kong - changed hands early this month for HK$33.8 million or HK$17,062 per sq ft, according to Centaline Property Agency.

'If you buy a similar size flat in Switzerland, you don't even need HK$30 million,' he said.

Located just above the Lavaux vineyards, the project is a redevelopment of the former Hotel du Parc.

The builder, Swiss Development Group, plans to convert the 140-room landmark hotel into 24 apartments, named Du Parc Kempinski Private Residences. The project is due to be completed in 2011.

Two-bedroom apartments ranging from 1,937 sq ft to 2,368 sq ft each will cost about four million to six million Swiss francs (HK$29.08 million to HK$43.62 million) - although foreigners will have to settle for smaller units because Swiss law bars them from buying units bigger than 250 square metres, or 2,691 square feet.

The smallest of the units to be sold in the Swiss development will cost as little as HK$29.3 million. As a result, the three-bedroom flats ranging in size from 3,336 sq ft to 3,659 sq ft are priced at about 12 million Swiss francs and are targeted at local residents.

Lee said only eight of the 24 units would be offered for sale to foreigners while the rest would be for local residents. British and Russian buyers had each bought a unit.

'We have received inquiries from the mainland, Taiwan and from some celebrities in Hong Kong. They see these precious homes as a kind of collectable item,' he said.

The luxury hotel group Kempinski would manage the apartments and would help buyers to lease the units. The hotel group estimated that the units could achieve rental returns of 15,000 to 35,000 Swiss francs per month, Lee said.

Security is also a major consideration. 'High degrees of privacy and security are very important to the rich and the famous when they come to buy properties,' he said.

Foot in the door

140-room landmark hotel to be converted into 24 apartments by 2011

Cheapest apartment at the Du Parc Kempinski Private Residences, in HK$: $29.3m