Hong Kong skyscraper sold for record $5.15 billion: report

Hong Kong's property market has become a political issue, with some small businesses closing because of sky-high rents while many residents cannot afford to buy or rent decent homes

A landmark skyscraper owned by Hong Kong's richest man Li Ka-shing has sold for a record of more than $5 billion, a report said Monday, indicating that the city's booming property sector shows no sign of slowing down.

Li's CK Asset sold its 75 percent stake in The Centre, which is located in the city's bustling Central district, to a consortium led by a Chinese energy firm, the Hong Kong Economic Journal said, citing unnamed sources.

The city's fifth tallest skyscraper would become Hong Kong's most expensive commercial building ever sold if the HK$40.2 billion (US$5.15 billion) deal goes through, the paper reported.

The sale would surpass a transaction earlier this year, where a prime commercial lot -- occupied by a multi-storey car park also in Central -- was sold off for HK$23.28 billion by the government to Henderson Land, which is owned by the city’s second richest man, Lee Shau-kee.

A spokeswoman from CK Asset said no immediate information was available.

Shares in CK Asset, Li's flagship property company, rose 2.62 percent to HK$66.50 in Hong Kong trade Monday.

The deal will soon be announced and the name of the building may be changed, the report added.

Hong Kong's surging property market has become a political issue as costs in one of the world’s most expensive metropolises continue to soar, forcing some small businesses to close owing to sky-high rents while many residents cannot afford to buy or rent decent homes.

Commercial and residential property prices have been fuelled by an influx of money from wealthy mainland Chinese investors and developers.

The 89-year-old Li announced a sweeping reorganisation of his businesses in early 2015, saying he wanted to secure stability in future.