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    For many decades, residential property prices have been the most prominent thorn in Hongkongers’ sides; and the trend for satirically unaffordable housing doesn’t look to be stopping anytime soon. According to experts, buyers can expect to pay somewhere in the ballpark of HK$16 million for new homes in 2018* — a statistic that’s unsurprising, given the consistent price hikes which are par for the course year-over-year.

     

    It begs the obvious question: should you spend hard-won millions on an urban shoebox (built by a despotic property developer with no eye for detail) or put your money towards a getaway pad that’s roomy, exciting and (in all likelihood) cheaper? Trick question — you should weigh up your options first. Welcome to “Trading Spaces”: a monthly series where we compare the average Hong Kong housing with our favourite overseas alternatives, valued at an identical/lower price point. 

     

    1
    The Hong Kong property

    Address: Nikkei Heights, 12 Prince’s Terrace, Soho, Central

    Asking price: HK$16 million

    Originally built in 1989, this 2-bedroom 2-bathroom flat boasts an enviable location in the thick of Soho’s ever-changing restaurant and bar scene. Beyond that, the property is unfurnished, possessing square footage totalling 998 sq. ft. and a small balcony. As with most apartment layouts in Hong Kong, laundry and cooking facilities are ameliorated into the same space. Generally speaking, a very typical style of housing for Central and the Western districts.

    2
    Trade-in #1: a painstakingly refurbished "twofer" in the heart of southwest London

    Address: Collingham Place, SW5, London 

    Asking price: £1,495,000 (approx HK$15.2 million)

    Home to the Chelsea and Kensington boroughs, London’s SW5 district is the ideal setting for this 1,122 sq. ft. duplex at the heart of Collingham Place. Two bedroom/bathroom combinations are spread across the property’s third storey; whilst the entirety of the fourth floor is given over to housing a living room, open-plan kitchen and gas powered fireplace. In stark contrast to its Edwardian exterior, this duplex’s internals have been upgraded with all the comforts of contemporary living. An integrated sound system runs throughout and all three of the property’s bathrooms are equipped with energy efficient floor heating.

    3
    Trade-in #2: a Parisian designer loft in the heart of the 8th arrondissement 

    Address: Village Royal, 8th District, Paris

    Asking price: HK$15,042,473

    Sure, convenient access to Soho is all well and good, but if you crave a residence that’s weighty with a sense of history, this 820 sq. ft. pied a terre (in the thick of the iconic 8th arrondissement) is the clear winner. Situated in a renovated freestone that was originally built in 1860, this bright and airy apartment commands one of the best locations in Paris, adjacent to Place de la Concorde and Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. A continuous balcony threads the length of the property; and between its opulent marble bathroom and Saint Laurent fixtures throughout, this property oozes an insouciance that is classically unmistakably Parisian.

    4
    Trade-in #3: a Belgian-style cottage on the outskirts of Moscow

    Address: Village Letovo, Moscow City, Moscow

    Asking price: HK$15,684,993

    For all those would-be Lermontovs looking to write their next sprawling Romantic novel, consider the purchase of this 5,000 sq. ft. “cottage” (on the outskirts of urban Moscow) part of your creative process. Featuring a staggering 4 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms, this loosely Belgian-inspired family home is situated at the edge of the Sosenka River. Internal furnishings make liberal use of walnut, antique cabinets and vaguely Byzantine wallpaper; but it is the property’s attic which is the highlight — converted by the previous owner into a secluded home office that is illuminated by a single portcullis window.

    5
    Trade-in #4: a private golf course amidst the high Sonoran desert (4-bedroom house included)

    Address: Wildcat Hill Road, Scottsdale, Arizona

    Asking price: HK$15,684,993

    Situated within the Mirabel Golf Club, this sprawling gated property takes full advantage of its natural surroundings, offering 360-degree views of both the Camelback and McDowell mountains that are a signature of Scottsdale’s landscape. Pima influenced exteriors give way to a home that is equal parts rustic and modern; with features like the indoor living room’s vaulted ceiling and travertine tiling offset by a breakfast bar capable of seating four. Easily capable of handling over a dozen houseguests, this property seems to have been constructed with entertainment purposes in mind — the negative edge pool-and-spa combo being the obvious centrepiece.

    6
    Trade-in #5: a Midtown eagle's nest fit for the ambassadorial set 

    Address: 860 United Nations Plaza 22E, New York

    Asking price: HK$15,675,500

    Boasting unrivalled visibility over Manhattan, this 6-room apartment (on the 22nd floor of United Nations Plaza) is ideally suited to C-suite executives and high level diplomatic personnel. Beyond the sophisticated home library (complete with custom built-in shelving) and impressive dining room — the latter is almost eclipsed by itsdramatic oversized windows — the property’s biggest draw is its wide array of amenities. Building residents enjoy access to gym and pilates facilities; in addition to a 24 hour concierge service. The drawback? Purchase is restricted to buyers who have existing U.S. assets.

     

    *Statistics cited in this article are obtained from surveys by Midland Realty and the HKSAR Rating and Valuation Departmentrelating to properties on Hong Kong island with gross area of 1,000+ sq ft.

    Randy Lai
    Watches Editor
    Having worked in the Australian digital media landscape for over 5 years, Randy has extensive experience in men's specialist categories such as classic clothing, watches and spirits. He is partial to mid-century chronographs and a nice chianti.