Topline: Billionaire property magnate Cheung Chung Kiu has snapped up a 45-bedroom home in London’s upscale Knightsbridge neighbourhood, with the sale price rumored to be $275 million. If completed, the purchase would mark the U.K.’s most expensive house sale—and cement the property as one of the world’s most expensive homes.
Cheung, founder and chairman of Hong Kong-listed CC Land Holdings, is in the process of purchasing the property, 2-8a Rutland Gate, for $275 million (£210 million), according to Bloomberg, citing a person familiar with the private purchase.
At that price, the sale is set to become one of the world’s most expensive house buys, beating the record $238 million that billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin paid for a Manhattan penthouse in January 2019. It would also be around double the $183 million (£140 million) paid for a 300-year-old British estate in 2011.
The stuccoed, mid-19th-century building overlooks Hyde Park and is a stone’s throw from Harrods department store. It comprises 45 rooms, underground parking, several lifts, bulletproof windows and a swimming pool.
Previous residents include the late Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Sultan bin Abdulaziz, and Lebanon’s former prime minister and billionaire Rafic Hariri.
The deal was brokered by Beauchamp Estates, Bloomberg reported. Forbes has contacted the property firm for comment.
Big numbers: Britain's biggest property sales over the last decade include:
Park Place Estate in Henley-on-Thames, purchased in 2011 for $183 million (£140 million) by Russian billionaire Andrei Borodin, the former head of the Bank of Moscow.
An apartment inside Knightsbridge’s One Hyde Park building, which was sold by property developers Nick and Christian Candy for $177 million (£136 million) in 2011.
Three Carlton Gardens, located close to Buckingham Palace and snapped up by Griffin also in January 2019, for the reduced price of $125 million (£95 million).
Key background: Experts are viewing the Rutland Gate purchase as a sign that the luxury property market, which was on hold for months thanks to Brexit-related uncertainty, is bouncing back. It also demonstrates how overseas investors are taking advantage of a pound weakened by the deadlocked negotiations that knocked business confidence—the same property was valued at $392 million (£300 million) in 2012.
Trevor Abrahmsohn, managing director of luxury estate agents Glentree International, told Forbes that the sale, he expects, is a sign of more to come. “[The sale] is the greatest endorsement that Britain is now moving in the right direction, in the post-Brexit era. This unprecedented sale is not surprising."
Liam Bailey, global head of research at Knight Frank, said in an email that demand for luxury property was notably up after the December 12 landslide election that broke a political deadlock and boosted market optimism. He said: "The number of exchanges in prime central London in December was the second highest monthly total since April 2014—with this activity driven by a sharp uptick following the election result.”
Tangent: Cheung, through his company, also owns the prominent London skyscraper known as “The Cheesegrater” for its resemblance to the kitchen utensil.
Image source: Getty Images