Mar 23, 2023
Hong Kong Property Heir Pays Low Tax on $7.6 Million Luxury Home
(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong property heir Douglas Woo bought an apartment in an upscale area for HK$59.8 million ($7.6 million) at a time when the city’s luxury market is just picking up as the border reopens.
The chairman of Wheelock & Co., one of the city’s biggest real estate firms, bought the luxury home this month, according to a Land Registry filing.
Woo’s apartment is in a 49-year-old development in Repulse Bay at the south end of Hong Kong Island favored by the wealthy. The three-bedroom property has an area of 1,583 square feet (147 square meters), translating to HK$37,776 per square foot. The last transaction in the project was a lower-level home of the same size that sold for HK$60 million in 2020.
A Wheelock representative declined to comment.
Woo paid a 4.25% tax on the purchase, local newspaper Ming Pao reported, citing documents. A buyer that doesn’t already hold residential properties at the time of purchase qualifies as a first-time buyer. Otherwise, the tax rate for residents with existing home ownership is 15%.
Woo’s father, Peter Woo, is Hong Kong’s sixth-richest person with a net worth of $18 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Wheelock holds two listed real estate companies, The Wharf (Holdings) Ltd. and Wharf Real Estate Investment Co. The latter reported a 22% decline in revenue in 2022 as tourism in the city halted.
Wharf’s signature projects include Mount Nicholson, one of the city’s most coveted luxury developments that has broken price records. The family’s portfolio also includes Harbour City and Times Square shopping malls.
Read more: Hong Kong Mansion in Peak Area Poised to Sell for Asia Record
The purchase by a buyer as prominent as Woo will further boost sentiment in the market. Hong Kong’s upscale home market had been under pressure amid Covid-19 restrictions and rising interest rates for the past few years. The border reopening with mainland China has improved the outlook, on expectations that wealthy Chinese buyers will return.
The value of luxury home transactions reached an eight-month high of HK$10 billion in January, according to Centaline Property Agency.
(Updates with Wharf Real Estate’s recent earnings in sixth paragraph)
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