HK property heir Douglas Woo invests in HK$60m apartment at Ming Wai Gardens in Repulse Bay as first-time buyer

Insert Picture: Douglas Woo. Ming Wai Gardens.

24th March 2023 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong property heir Douglas Woo has recently purchased a luxury apartment worth HK$59.8 million (US$7.6 million) in an upscale area as the city’s luxury market shows signs of picking up following the reopening of borders. The purchase was made this month and was recorded in a Land Registry filing.

Woo’s newly acquired three-bedroom apartment is situated in a 49-year-old Ming Wai Gardens located at 45 Repulse Bay Road, located at the southern end of Hong Kong Island. The property spans 1,583 square feet (147 square meters) and was purchased at HK$37,776 per square foot. The last transaction in the same project was a lower-level home of the same size that sold for HK$60 million in 2020.

According to local newspaper Ming Pao, Woo paid a 4.25 percent tax on the purchase, which is lower than the usual 15 percent tax rate for residents with existing home ownership. This is because a buyer who does not hold any residential properties at the time of purchase qualifies as a first-time buyer.

Douglas Woo is the chairperson of Wheelock & Co., one of the largest real estate firms in Hong Kong. The company holds two listed real estate firms, The Wharf (Holdings) Ltd. and Wharf Real Estate Investment Co. The latter reported a 22 percent decline in revenue in 2022 due to the halt in tourism in the city. Woo’s father, Peter Woo, is Hong Kong’s sixth-richest person with a net worth of US$18 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The purchase made by Woo, a prominent figure in the real estate industry, is expected to boost sentiment in the luxury home market. The upscale home market in Hong Kong has been under pressure due to Covid-19 restrictions and rising interest rates for the past few years. However, the reopening of borders with mainland China has improved the outlook, with expectations that wealthy Chinese buyers will return.

According to Centaline Property Agency, the value of luxury home transactions in Hong Kong reached an eight-month high of HK$10 billion in January, indicating that the luxury property market in the city is making a comeback.