Question of the day: How long would Hong Kong Monetary Authority chief executive Norman Chan Tak-lam need to slog before he can buy Twelve Peaks?
Answer: About 70 years. On his current salary, he has to work past age 130 before he can move into the world’s most expensive house on The Peak.
Unit 1 at 12 Mount Kellett Road, with a saleable area of 4,661 square feet, has a world record price tag of HK$819 million (US$105 million). But developer Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP) is throwing in a generous 15 per cent discount, which brings the price down to under HK$700 million.
Still, at HK$150,000 per square foot, the property is on track to beat house 10 at 10 Pollock’s Path, the former HSBC taipan house owned by comedian Stephen Chow Sing-chi which was sold for HK$800 million or HK$130,000 per square foot.
That begs an obvious question: is it worth it?
Taking a cue from SHKP director Walter Kwok Ping-sheung — who was reported to have asked his brothers to justify hiring Chan as a consultant to the tune of the equivalent of one year of rental income at Hong Kong Plaza, or two years of rental income at Kai Tak Mansion, or four months of rental income from Metroplaza, or three months of rental income from Royal Garden Hotel’s shopping arcade – we come up with what we call the “SHKP-Norman Chan Index” to put Hong Kong’s top wage earners to the affordability test.
Let’s start with Kwok’s two brothers. Last year, Raymond Kwok Ping-luen made HK$3.35 million while his elder brother, Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong, made HK$3.09 million. A back-of-the-envelope calculation shows Raymond may need to save for 208 years for the Mount Kellett house and Thomas, 226 years.
Of course, they are the bosses and they can move there anytime.
But poor Lui Ting, the trusted lieutenant and sales head at SHKP who made near HK$19 million last year. We reckon it would take Lui 36 years to acquire the house. By then he would be close to 100.
Well, if he can’t afford the world’s most expensive address, he would be better off selling it and that’s his job.
For Canning Fok Kin-ning, group managing director of Hutchison Whampoa and the most well-paid blue-chip executive, it will take him only 3.7 years. Fok earned HK$188 million last year.
Hong Kong has no shortage of multimillionaires as evidenced by the latest finding that more than 15,400 Hongkongers have a net worth of over US$10 million, a world record. But it is not easy to find a few potential buyers who can afford the Mount Kellett house.
Perhaps some mainland Chinese tycoons could easily snap it up.
Corrupt Chinese officials could also be eyeing it — if only they could get their money out of the mainland.
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