Date
22 April 2019
Sino Land senior management staff thank a 98-year-old woman who bought a three-bedroom flat at Grand Central in Kwun Tong for about HK$15 million. Photo: HKEJ/Internet
Sino Land senior management staff thank a 98-year-old woman who bought a three-bedroom flat at Grand Central in Kwun Tong for about HK$15 million. Photo: HKEJ/Internet

Why a 98-year-old homebuyer is laughing her way to the bank

While most young Hongkongers have given up on buying their own home, a 98-year-old mother felt that it’s about time she acquired her own flat.

The old lady showed up at the sales office of Grand Central Phase 1 in Kwun Tong, which Sino Land Co. Ltd. launched on Tuesday, and bought a three-bedroom flat in the new residential estate for around HK$15 million, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

It’s not often that we see people of advanced years buy such an expensive flat.

It turns out that the woman bought it not for herself but for her son.

According to estate agent Midland Realty, the woman has no property under her name.

Under current regulations, she only needs to pay a buyer stamp tax of 3.75 percent based on the price of the flat as a first-time homebuyer.

Had her son, who already owns a flat, bought the same property in his name, he would have to pay a double stamp duty of 15 percent. 

The new tax regime was instituted by the government to prevent speculators from further boosting home prices to levels unaffordable to first-time homebuyers.

Midland Realty says she has to pay a stamp tax of about HK$562,500, which is reasonable enough because the amount would have been HK$2.25 million if the buyer was the son himself.

In other words, the son saved more than HK$1.68 million thanks to his mother.

Now, would a nonagenarian be able to take out a mortgage for the flat?

Sharmaine Lau, chief vice-president of mReferral Mortgage Brokerage Services, says an elderly homebuyer can still get a mortgage from a bank as long as the buyer and a borrower jointly apply for the loan, and the borrower promises to pay for it.

Meanwhile, a 92-year-old man also bought a flat at Grand Central.

While their cases may seem rare, Lau says it is quite often that we see parents buying homes in the name of their children, adding that such cases now account for about 12 percent of all property transactions this year, up from 9 percent last year.

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TL/JC/CG

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