Wealthy Hong Kong and mainland buyers, who have been pouring their money into London's prime bricks and mortar, are now eyeing Britain's most expensive mansion. The house on Carlton House Terrace in central London has a price tag of £250 million (HK$2.95 billion).
The asking price is 700 times more than the £370,000 average property value in the capital and is set to smash Britain's price record, according to London's Evening Standard newspaper.
The Grade I-listed Regency property is close to Buckingham Palace, with views of St James's Park. It is in the hands of an elderly member of a Middle East royal family who is discreetly trying to find a buyer, the paper said.
A "strictly confidential" brochure describes it as "probably the finest residence in London" that retains original features including a magnificent double staircase and huge ballroom. With 50,000 sq ft of living space, it is 30 times bigger than a typical London family house.
"Assets of this quality are obviously priced at a point where only the super-rich can consider them," said Richard Kirke, managing director of Colliers International Hong Kong. "Super-rich Hong Kong and [mainland] Chinese may look at it."
Chinese are among the keenest buyers of London property. International property consultancy Knight Frank reported earlier this year that investors from Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia and India last year accounted for 50 per cent of purchases of newly constructed homes in central London.
Hong Kong investors are reportedly among the major buyers in the area around Bond Street, one of London's most upmarket shopping streets.
In 2010 Hong Kong-based billionaire Joseph Lau Luen-hung bought a house in Belgravia's Eaton Square for £33 million.
Koh Keng-shing, founder of property consultancy Landscope Christie's International Real Estate, said the house at 18 Carlton House Terrace was the second largest mansion in London after Buckingham Palace. "This will target not only Chinese buyers but also Russians," said Koh.
The property is at the end of a quiet street between the Mall and Lower Regent Street that was once the most fashionable address in London, the Standard said. The only other family owners on the terrace are the Hinduja family, who have global stakes in finance, telecommunications and oil businesses. They bought their home for £60 million in 2006 and have spent £50 million restoring it, the paper said.
The London record is the £136 million paid for an apartment at One Hyde Park in Knightsbridge. A house on Rutland Gate near Hyde Park was reported to have gone on sale for £300 million but has yet to find a buyer.