Opus retains allure as demand cools

Swire signs up new tenant at the project despite downward trend in luxury residential rents

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 July, 2013, 3:10am

Despite the downward trend in luxury residential rents, Swire Properties has secured a new tenant at Opus Hong Kong, Asia's most expensive apartment block, people familiar with the deal said.

This is the second flat to be rented out at the 12-storey development on Stubbs Road near the Peak, after Britain's new consul general leased a unit of more than 6,000 square feet on the third floor in April.

A flat on the ninth floor was sold in October last year for HK$455 million, or HK$68,083 per square foot, an Asian record.

"As of July 17, two units have been sold and two units have been leased out at Opus," Swire told the South China Morning Post.

"Due to confidentiality agreements, we are unable to disclose information of neither the tenants nor the rents."

In December, a tenant who had agreed to pay monthly rent of HK$850,000 for a 6,000 sqft duplex unit at Opus cancelled the deal after government measures cooled demand for property.

Sources said Swire had not lowered its asking rents despite the aborted deal.

"The developer is not in a hurry to sell or fill up the development as it is a rare product in the market," one source said.

Each unit at the Frank Gehry-designed block has floor-to-ceiling windows and commands 360-degree views of Victoria Harbour and Mount Cameron.

Edina Wong, a senior director of residential leasing at Savills, said Swire would be unlikely to offer steep discounts at Opus, given the limited supply of such luxury apartments.

"There are only a handful of apartments or houses of 6,000 to 7,000 sqft offered for lease. So these prestigious premises will be more resilient to market changes," Wong said.

In the first half of this year, she said, luxury residential rents dropped 5 per cent amid falling demand from senior executives at multinationals.

"Luxury homes at asking rents of HK$200,000 and HK$300,000 a month have been hit the hardest as these executives have become more cost-conscious," Wong said, adding that these executives were now looking for properties with rents of HK$90,000 to HK$100,000 a month instead.

She forecast a further 5 per cent fall in luxury residential rents by the end of the year.