Hong Kong people who employ a foreign domestic worker must provide her with a bedroom, but sometimes maids have to content themselves with just a bed or even a shared room because of the city’s high property prices.
The most expensive maid’s room in Hong Kong, and possibly the world, can now be found at Mount Nicholson, an extravagant development at The Peak that has just broken the record for the most expensive apartments on the planet.
An anonymous buyer has paid HK$1.16 billion (US$148.5 million) for two apartments measuring 4,242 and 4,579 square feet in the joint project by Wheelock Properties and Nan Fung Development.
At more than HK$131,000 per square foot, Mount Nicholson regained the top spot in the city by dwarfing the HK$105,000 per square foot paid to Henderson Land in September for a HK$521 million home at 39 Conduit Road.
Now, a 100-square-foot room suitable for a domestic helper at Mount Nicholson, based on the current market price, would be worth around HK$13 million. That would be equivalent to 245 years of income of a foreign domestic worker at the current monthly rate of HK$4,410.
From another perspective, the domestic worker’s room is as costly as six subsidized housing units in Tuen Mun, where the entry-level price is HK$1.92 million, and it is higher than the cost of a 221-square-foot apartment at Sai Ying Pun, billed as the most expensive nano flat in the world at HK$8 million.
Economist Andy Kwan described the amounts the super-rich pay for a complete house as “crazy,” but the money they dish out for a small to medium-sized apartment is “even more crazy.”
Hong Kong is the world’s most expensive urban centre among 406 cities, according to the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey.
The prices of private homes in Hong Kong have surged 430% since 2003, the lowest point in the millennium because of the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). And the residential index has been on another uptrend, with prices surging for the 18th consecutive month to a record high in September.
Ingrid Cheh, director of research at JLL, told the South China Morning Post that the Mount Nicholson transaction entailed the highest per-square-foot price among apartments and condominiums in Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo, three of Asia’s most mature real-estate markets.
Japan’s most expensive residential building is the Park Mansion apartment complex at Hinokicho Park in Tokyo’s Roppongi district, which was pre-sold recently at 879,320 yen (US$7,845) per square foot.
In Singapore, the most expensive residence is The Marq on Paterson complex, which was transacted at S$6,840 (US$5,045) per square foot back in November 2011.