PERSPECTIVES: Hong Kong’s High-End Property Sector Poised For Renewal

Real estate prices in areas such as Repulse Bay, pictured, underscore how expensive Hong Kong can be. (

This report is part of PERSPECTIVES, a comprehensive look into the world of prime residential real estate. Access the full report here to discover the latest trends and dynamics shaping the market.

Hong Kong has long topped the list of the world’s most expensive cities. The city comprised of islands and peninsulas has great natural beauty, exclusive neighborhoods, a massive concentration of wealth, stunning hilltop homes, gorgeous views of Victoria Harbor and an upscale, cosmopolitan vibe.

All those amenities, however, come with a hefty price tag. Mercer’s cost-of-living report said the Asian financial hub was the priciest city in the world in 2023, followed by Singapore and Zurich, Switzerland. The Economist Intelligence Unit’s index found Singapore and Zurich tied for first place, with Hong Kong at No. 5.

Real estate prices underscore how expensive Hong Kong can be. Last year, a newly styled luxury mansion at 45 Barker Road in the exclusive Peak neighborhood sold for HKD 1.2 billion, or US $153 million. The 4,700-square-foot property overlooking the harbor set a record for the highest-square-foot price in Asia: HKD 255,000, or US $32,600.

The top floor of a high-rise in another sought-after neighborhood, Southside on Repulse Bay, sold in 2023 for HKD 120.8 million, or US $16.36 million. Cheuk Nang Lookout villa in the city’s sought-after Peak neighborhood is now listed at HKD 550 million, or about US $70.3 million.

For a variety of reasons, including the Covid pandemic, rising interest rates and defaults by major China developers, the housing market slumped in 2022 and didn’t pick up much in 2023. “Buyers were very cautious, resulting in a very quiet market,” says Joshua Miller, CEO of real estate brokerage

72 Repulse Bay Road, Repulse Bay. Presented by

The number of transactions in the HKD 10-million-plus range (or US $1.25 million) dropped 15% in 2023 over the prior year, and 59% when compared with 2021, according to Hong Kong government figures. In the HKD 20-million category, or US $2.5-million range, transactions increased 13% in 2023 when compared with 2022 but were about 54% lower than in 2021.

“Many purchasers decided there were too many uncertainties,” Miller says. Buyers have been waiting on the sidelines for the last two years.

Primary home buyers in Hong Kong are “a combination of local [Hong Kong] residents, mainland Chinese investors and long-term expats who have been here for many years,” Miller says. “High prices and a small geography mean that people don’t buy holiday homes or second homes for self-use the way one might in the [United] States.”

Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated places on the planet and has tightly restricted new land supply to build new homes. Although wealth generated by the financial center has increased over the last decades, the number of homes has not kept pace with economic growth. With a limited supply of properties, Miller says, “prices have risen to astronomic levels in the last 50 years.”

Pressures affecting Hong Kong and its high-end housing market began four years ago when the area was sealed off in keeping with China’s zero-Covid strategy (Hong Kong is a special administrative region of the second-most-populous country). Though there were exceptions and partial reopenings, Hong Kong didn’t fully open its borders until February 2023.

Cheuk Nang Lookout, Peak. Presented by

Then interest rates in the U.S. started to tick up, and the financial markets reacted poorly. Hong Kong’s currency is pegged to the U.S. dollar and is greatly affected by American markets and interest rates.

At about the same time, mainland China’s economy softened, a trend that continued in 2023. Defaults by real estate developers in China, for example, shook confidence in the real estate market, Miller says.

Hong Kong’s real estate market also experiences more volatility because buyers are more speculative and look at purchasing a home as similar to investing in the stock market. As prices have fallen, sellers must decide how long they’ll wait to place homes on the market.

Having said that, “Hong Kong remains unique given its access to China, its role as a global financial center and yet having land supply that is highly limited. As such, demand will outpace supply for many years to come,” Miller notes.

After one of the biggest downswings in recent history, activity and prices may be bottoming. The hope for 2024 is for sellers and buyers to jump in. “We’re confident that sales will go up modestly, 5-10% in the luxury market and maybe up to 20% overall as optimism begins to replace fear,” says Letizia G. Casalino, executive director of

The worst luxury home market in three decades will turn around when there’s a psychological shift that brings people back in, Miller says.

He sees hopeful signs. “In the first two weeks of January, the number of inquiries [to’s website] jumped 40% versus December,” he says. This could signify a positive turn for Hong Kong’s luxury housing market, suggesting a potential resurgence on the horizon.


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