What property can you buy for HK$4m?
In Hong Kong your budget won't stretch far at all, but leave these shores and there is a world of choice being offered for that kind of money
Grumbling about the city's soaring flat prices may be one of the most common chit-chat topics at gatherings these days.
When I met a friend for lunch a week ago, she kept complaining about how difficult it was for her to afford a three-bedroom flat in Hong Kong. People at the next table were discussing a similar issue.
"Imagine the size of a flat you can buy in Hong Kong with HK$4 million," one of them said. "That's why we choose to live with our parents here and spend HK$4 million to buy a flat elsewhere."
I was not eavesdropping, although I admit I might not have caught those lines had I not been a property reporter. However, we had no idea where the speaker bought her flat.
This led my friend and me to wondering what type of flat could be bought for HK$4 million, and in what area?
In Hong Kong, it is almost impossible to find new flats at this price.
If you fancy urban areas, a two-bedroom flat in Dandenong Mansion - a 24-year-old single-block building in Wan Chai - is on offer for HK$4 million, according to Midland Realty's website.
The flat, as expected, is not large, It offers a gross floor area of 390 sqft or a saleable area of 271 sqft.
If size is more important than location, other options include a two-bedroom flat with a gross area of 462 sqft at 31-year-old Amoy Gardens in Ngau Tau Kok, which recently sold for HK$3.88 million, Ricacorp Properties said.
Out in Yuen Long, a 621 sqft flat at the newer Yoho Midtown changed hands for HK$3.8 million.
What about "elsewhere" then?
Assuming there are no purchase and immigration restrictions, HK$4 million, which equates to 3.22 million yuan, is enough to buy a new home of at least 900 sqft in central Guangzhou, or up to about 2,000 sqft if you go to Panyu.
Prices in Shenzhen and Beijing's are slightly higher, but 3.22 million yuan can still guarantee a comfortable 1,000 sqft flat, even if it may be second-hand.
If you don't mind an hour's boat ride as your commute, a Macau agent said HK$4 million would secure a 1,200 sqft apartment in some 20-year-old buildings, or a new luxury studio flat of about 600 sqft.
Taiwan is also popular with buyers from Hong Kong. A Taipei broker said some Hong Kong residents had bought luxury serviced apartments above a shopping mall opposite the centrally located Taipei Station.
These have price tags of about HK$4 million for two-bedroom or three-bedroom flats of more than 800 sqft.
Otherwise, the HK$4 million would buy a 1,000 sqft apartment in Trump Tower, the most expensive high-rise near the Las Vegas strip, according to a US agent.
If it is still too small for a home in the US, the same budget can cover a 4,000 sqft luxury standalone house in a golf course community, or four units of between 1,800 and 2,000 sqft each.
When I put it to my friend who was complaining at the prices of property, she jokingly said: "Shouldn't I move to the US? Though it may be difficult to find a job there under the present economic situation, it may still be easier to save and buy a decent flat there than in Hong Kong even if you have a job here!"
So, what is your choice if you have HK$4 million?