Hong Kong: Developer profits off 'lucky' 88th floor apartment

Hong Kong developers are touting lucky-numbered floors that are actually dozens of floors lower.

Vincent Yu/AP
Hong Kong skyline shows off luxury residential buildings.

A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.

HONG KONG – You’d think, wouldn’t you, that if you bought an apartment on the 88th floor you would have a pretty spectacular view, even in Hong Kong’s notoriously crowded skyline.

In Hong Kong, though, you can buy a pied-à-terre on the 88th floor but find yourself only 46 stories above ground level – practically a bungalow by local standards.

That’s because local developers, cashing in on Cantonese Chinese numerology, have taken to skipping dozens of floors so as to be able to sell property on “lucky” floor numbers such as 66, 68, and 88.

Hong Kong lawmakers have taken the issue up, with one party proposing capping the number of floors that can be skipped.

The row broke out recently when a prominent Hong Kong developer, Henderson Land, built a 46-story apartment block, but after completing the 43rd floor, numbered the top three 66, 68, and 88.

They know what they are doing. Henderson set a world record with one property in the building, selling it for $9,200 a square foot. Part of the reason it was so expensive (apart from the gym) was that it was on the 68th floor.

Except that it wasn’t. In the real world it was on the 45th floor. But 68 is a much better number.

Better still, though, is 88 (a homonym for “fortune fortune”). Henderson’s general manager says he is hoping to sell an apartment on that floor (physically the 46th), for more than $11,000 a square foot, which would be a new world record.

I hope the buyer will be able to see Victoria Harbour from the saddle of his exercise bike.

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