Real estate on The Peak not already owned by tycoons is the target of niche developers Houses for sale on The Peak are few and far between and only for the super-rich. With most homes in Hong Kong selling for less than $2 million, PCCW's recent sale of a house of 5,750 square feet on The Peak for more than $140 million highlights the huge discrepancy between the super-rich and most homeowners. Industrialists have a strong foothold on The Peak, along with small to medium-size developers and wealthy family funds. 'A long time ago, The Peak used to be occupied by loaded bankers. But in the 1990s industrialists with lots of money from successful businesses emerged,' said Francis Li, an executive director of the investment department of DTZ Debenham Tie Leung. During the property boom, the industrialists' buying power was overshadowed by that of speculators, who had a much higher leverage ratio. After the property market crumbled in 1997, however, industrialists reasserted their foothold on The Peak as speculators avoided the luxury sector, Mr Li said. 'Many industrialists, who had not been involved in equity markets much, suffered much less during the financial turmoil,' he said. 'Therefore there is more cash to snap up luxury mansions for owner use.' He said most industrialists considered properties on The Peak long-term investments. 'Like [toymaker Francis Choi Chi-ming], who snapped up properties after the property slump and has not sold any of them yet,' he said. Mr Choi's property portfolio is now worth more than $5 billion. Realtors said it was not easy to estimate how big the buyers' market on The Peak was. Donald Fan Tung, a director of Regal Hotels International, developer of the luxury project Regalia Bay in Stanley, said: 'Ordinary employees can't imagine how many wealthy people live in Hong Kong. The number is very big.' Landscope Realty managing director Koh Keng-shing said the number of developers interested in acquiring top-end sites on The Peak for development was small and most were small to medium-size firms. 'Sites worth more than $300 million are too big for most end users but too small for major developers in Hong Kong. Therefore these plots are most sought after by small to medium-size developers, ' Mr Koh said. The most recently active developers on The Peak include a consortium formed by National Electronics and AIG, Kowloon Development, Nam Fung Development and Chinese Estates Holdings. The latest plot for sale on The Peak is a 43,824 sqft site at 10 Pollock's Path, on which formerly stood the luxury house Skyhigh, the one-time residence of former Hongkong Bank chairman Michael Sandberg and Yaohan International boss Kazuo Wada. It is the highest point on The Peak. The site is likely to sell for more than $300 million, according to market estimates. Sole agency Raymond W. F. Ho Co said the tender for the site would close on March 23. With a plot ratio of 0.5, the site is suitable for a development of four to six houses, each ranging from about 3,600 sqft to 5,500 sqft, according to Raymond Ho Wing-fai, head of the agency. Less than 25 per cent of the roughly 500 houses on The Peak are owned by individuals, according to Colliers International. The rest are owned by companies. Colliers International research director Simon Lo said: 'Less than 20 per cent of The Peak houses are available for sale, and the rest are owned by end users or investors aiming for long-term investment.' Old family funds, traditionally key players for properties on The Peak, were steering clear of the neighbourhood as prices had risen swiftly during the past few months, he said.