Canning Fok Kin-ning, the right-hand man of tycoon Li Ka-shing, has put two mansions located at the southern tip of Hong Kong Island on the market, taking advantage of resilient prices for high-end real estate to lock in the returns on his investments.

Two houses on 64 and 66 Chung Hom Kok Road near Stanley in the island’s Southern district, considered rare assets by sales agents, have received a tentative combined offer of HK$980 million (US$126.4 million), according to people familiar with the sale.

The two houses are registered to two closely held companies Key Success Investments and Dingford Development, in which Fok and his wife Eliza Fok Ho Yi-wah are directors, according to the Land Registry. The couple bought the two mansions in July 1996, records show.

“Hong Kong’’s market for luxury residential property has largely been supported by mainland Chinese capital,” said Joseph Tsang, chairman of the real estate consultancy and agent JLL in Hong Kong. “Buyers of big-ticket transactions are fewer than before, as mainland Chinese buyers had been unable to visit Hong Kong until the border reopens” when the coronavirus pandemic is brought under control, he said.

Canning Fok Kin-ning, co-managing director of CK Hutchison and chairman of Power Assets, during the company's annual general meeting at Harbour Grand Hotel in Hung Hom. on 15 May 2014.

The two homes are among several properties owned by the corporate chieftain dubbed Hong Kong’s “King of Employees” for many decades for his apex position among the city’s salaried class. Trimming the assets to take advantage of a significant surge in real estate prices in the world’s most expensive urban centre is only natural, Tsang said.

“Asset reallocation to balance the risk is a common strategy adopted by veteran investors,” he said, rejecting the notion that the sale reflected pessimism towards Hong Kong’s future. “He is not selling his own home at Deep Water Bay.”

The average residential property price for luxury property, defined as those bigger than 160 square metres (1,722 square feet) have soared by 173 per cent since Fok bought his Stanley mansions in 1996, according to data provided by the Rating and Valuation Department.

The tentative bid on the two houses, which measure a combined 10,219 square feet, work out to HK$95,900 per square foot.

The house at 64 Chung Hom Kok Road measures 6,265 sq ft according to Land Registry data, while the next building is 3,954 sq ft in size. House 66 was rented between 2011 and 2013 to Charles Li Xiaojia, the former chief executive of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearings Limited (HKEX), the operator of the city’s stock exchange, for a monthly rent of HK$288,000. House 64 was once leased for as much as HK$620,000 a month, records show.

Justin Chiu, executive director of Li’s property flagship CK Asset Holdings, sold a luxury apartment measuring 1,948 sq ft at The Albany on the Mid-Levels for HK$103.5 million in December. The executive bought the unit in 2017 for HK$94.3 million.

Canning Fok Kin-ning (right) during a Cheung Kong Group event on August 24, 1995 in Hong Kong with tycoon Li Ka-shing (left).

Owners have been encouraged to lock in the appreciations of their investments, after Wharf (Holdings) paid a record HK$12 billion for a parcel of land on Mansfield Road on The Peak via government tender in December.

“The sale of [the Mansfield Road] parcel on The Peak for a record price will encourage more owners to take profit,” said Louis Ho, principal sales director at Centaline Property Agency, one of the city’s major network of real property agents.

As the highest-ranking manager in Li’s business empire, Fok was Hong Kong’s highest-paid corporate chieftain and one of the city’s biggest taxpayers, surpassed only in 2016 when Tencent Holdings the Chinese games publisher paid its top executive HK$274 million.

Victor Li Tzar-kuoi (left), Li Ka-shing (centre) and Canning Fok Kin-ning (right) during the joint results press briefing by CK Hutchison Holdings Limited and CK Asset Holdings on March 16, 2018, during which the elder Li announced his retirement.

Fok was appointed in 1984 as executive director of Hutchison Whampoa, one of the tycoon’s two flagship companies, now renamed CK Hutchison.

As co-managing of the company with Li’s elder son Victor Li Tzar-kuoi in 2018, Fok’s total pay was HK$226.3 million, comprising HK$11.5 million in salary, HK$213.5 million in bonus and HK$1.04 million in pension, according to exchange filings on Bloomberg.

He also received HK$755,000 in director’s fees that year for sitting on the boards of six companies within the CK portfolio. Fok could not be reached to comment.

Hong Kong developers Wharf, CK Asset gear up to launch luxury projects as surging stock market creates vast new wealth.