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Updated Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 03:46 PM

Hong Kong’s priciest pad sold for $60 million

By KELVIN CHAN
The Associated Press

HONG KONG — A luxury Hong Kong apartment in a Frank Gehry-designed building has sold for an eye-popping price of nearly $60 million, the latest sign of the city’s overheated housing market.

Swire Properties said last month it had sold the 6,683-square-foot apartment on the ninth floor of its Opus development for $58.7 million. It did not identify the buyer.

Local property agents said it was the highest price ever paid for an apartment in the southern Chinese financial center. The sale comes amid growing concern over surging property prices in Hong Kong driven by ultralow interest rates and an influx of wealthy mainland Chinese buyers.

Prices have doubled since the end of the global financial crisis in 2009, according to a widely watched index.

The Hong Kong government has introduced various measures to try to cool the market. The latest round, including a tax on foreign buyers, was introduced at the end of October.

The Opus apartment was sold nine days before those latest measures were announced, the South China Morning Post newspaper reported, citing Land Registry data.

The apartment is one of just 12 units in the building, which is perched on the side of Victoria Peak and affords commanding views of Hong Kong. Swire has already sold one other unit for $55.5 million and leased out another that comes with its own pool for $110,000 a month.

Gehry designed the building with external glass-enclosed columns that twist around the building to mimic the appearance of reeds swaying in the breeze.

William Lau, a sales director at Midland Realty, said the apartment fetched a record price because it had a “unique” design and location. But he predicted the broader luxury-property market would start to cool.

“These policies will narrow down the supply of the secondhand market,” Lau said. “For the coming months, we forecast the transactions will keep in a very low level.”


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