Chinese security agency purchases villa worth $65 million in Hong Kong; check details
According to Demographia, it would take as many as 23.2 years for a local resident to buy a home even without spending any of their income. In the last six months, the city's sky-high property prices have taken a hit, weighed down by Covid curbs and political turmoil.
Land Registry data has revealed that China's national security agency in Hong Kong spent HK$508 million ($65 million) on a luxury villa in an exclusive neighbourhood perched on a hill above the city.
According to reports, the villa was purchased last month that offers a rare glimpse into an organisation which was set up in the Chinese finance hub more than two years ago but remains opaque and free from public scrutiny.
It is also said that the Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region was listed as the buyer of the largest villa at the Mont Rouge in the Beacon Hill district.
The Land Registry data also revealed that the mansion (7,171-square foot) has as many as five bedrooms, three car parking spaces, a garden, its own lift and is described by its developer as "a residential jewel that secures panoramic views, low density and luxuriant living".
According to local media, the sale of this property has set a record for the most expensive house sold in the Kowloon district on a per-square foot basis.
Beijing's national security office in Hong Kong was established in July 2020 following huge and sometimes violent democracy protests, alongside the imposition of a sweeping security law which has since ensnared more than 200 people.
The security law allowed China's mainland security apparatus to operate openly in Hong Kong for the first time, allowing Chinese agents to conduct their own investigations and not be limited by the city's regulations.
The office requisitioned two hotels on Hong Kong's main island to be its temporary headquarters, while an 11,500-square metre government plot has been earmarked for a permanent base.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson from the Hong Kong government said the national security office is funded directly by the central government.
It can be seen that Hong Kong has been rated the world's least affordable place to buy property for multiple years by the Demographia International Housing Affordability.
According to Demographia, it would take 23.2 years for a local resident to buy a home even without spending any of their income. In the last six months, the city's sky-high property prices have taken a hit, weighed down by Covid curbs and political turmoil.
However, the rise in interest rates have made mortgages for the average resident become more expensive, impacting affordability even as the property market slides.