Purpose – Adaptive reuse of existing building stock that has reached the end of its useful life, but not its physical life, is an important ingredient in the necessary adaptation of the constructed environment due to the impact of climate change and the need to conserve valuable resources into the future. This paper aims to advance previous research that has developed a means to predict adaptive reuse potential (ARP). Design/methodology/approach – This study is conducted by comparing ARP (ARP) between urban and nonurban settings drawn from case studies in both Hong Kong and Australia. The results are also compared to a database of 64 completed adaptive reuse case studies worldwide to provide a comparative benchmark against which to assess the findings. Findings – Through application of the ARP model, mean values are determined for a number of variables that suggest that the model relates equally well to different contexts. However, the data further suggest that the 12 urban cases in Hong Kong have a lower ARP score on average than the 12 nonurban cases in Australia, yet the maximum ARP score possible is higher. Research limitations/implications – The paper indicates that adaptive reuse intervention in Hong Kong is too late and valuable opportunity for economic, social and environmental gain is delayed. Practical implications – The paper provides useful means to assist decisionmaking on how to handle or use existing buildings. Understanding adaptive reuse potential of existing buildings is important and this study provides an effective method for supporting this understanding. Originality/value – The means to predict ARP in previous studies is advanced in this study.