In Hong Kong, it pays to build in the price of property into the break-up costs when love ends.
Take the interesting case of Canto pop diva Faye Wong, 45, and actor Nicholas Tse, 32, rekindling their relationship.
Call it bad timing. The May-December love ended in 2003 when Wong decided to sell her Turtle Cove house in Tai Tam Road for HK$32.5 million. The property was believed to have been their love nest.
Now back together, they would have to pay a much higher price to get back the house. The owner who bought Wong’s property hired Savills to sell it for some HK$220 million, up more than six times in 10 years.
One of the six exclusive houses in Turtle Cove with sea views in Island South, the three-storey, 4,002-square-foot and five-bedroom units were built in 1976. Singer Leslie Cheung was once a resident and his unit was sold for HK$135 million.
With the earning ability of Tse, an A-rated movie star and chief executive of his own Post Production Office that was said to have made HK$100 million net profit last year, he would have no problem buying back the property.
But his case raises a point about how the city’s high property prices disincentivize couples from making a clean break. They may have to think twice about whether to keep the property — not because they wish for a reunion but only because they could not afford the price escalation.
Consider too the case of Cecilia Cheung, Tse’s ex-wife, who reportedly dispose of her Ocean Bay home at Chung Hom Kok, Stanley for over HK$120 million. Tse’s family paid HK$90 million for the home in 2008. Cheung is now living in Singapore with her two sons.
Most separations are heart-breaking but the rise in property prices may soothe the pain. For example, singer Gigi Leung, who bought a house in Marina Cove, Sai Kung to be close to her ex-boyfriend Ekin Cheng, sold her flat last year for a HK$20 million gain.
However, some divorces end in tears. Kenny Bee, lead singer of the Wynners, had to declare bankruptcy because his former wife, Teresa Cheung Siu-wai, took out loans totaling HK$154 million at the height of the property boom in 1997, when the bubble burst.
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