Hong Kong buyers rush for properties in London

There has been significant increase in the number of people from Hong Kong purchasing homes in the capital since the UK government announced a new visa welcoming residents from the former British colony, earlier this year.

According to new figures from Chestertons, which has 31 branches across London, sales enquiries from Hong Kong buyers have risen by 20% over the past 18 months whilst demand for rental properties is expected to increase ahead of September, when students head to London’s universities.

Transactions by Hong Kong buyers have risen by 115% in London since May  last year, the agency said.

Chestertons expects the uplift in Hong Kong investors to continue following the UK government’s recent visa offering to the 2.9 million Hongkongers with British National Overseas (BNO) status.

Guy Gittins, CEO of Chestertons, said: “Historically, the UK has always had a strong bond with Hong Kong, and London has been a key destination for Hong Kong property investors.

“Whilst the number of foreign investors in London fell dramatically during the height of the pandemic, the new visa regulations and imminent easing of travel restrictions has revived London’s appeal as an investment and lifestyle hotspot.”

A visa scheme to allow Hong Kong residents to come to the UK opened earlier tis year, with some 300,000 people expected to apply.

The visa, which is open to holders of a British National (Overseas) passport and their immediate dependents, will offer a fast track to UK citizenship.

Richard Davies

The UK launched the new visa after China imposed a new security law.

Those who apply and secure the visa will be able to apply for settlement after five years and then British citizenship after a further 12 months.

Richard Davies, head of lettings at Chestertons, commented: “A significant proportion of tenants in city centres are international students and corporate tenants. However, due to Covid-related travel bans, the number of these sorts of tenants declined considerably last year but we are now witnessing a clear increase.

“Inevitably, the return of renters from Hong Kong and other countries will drive rental prices across the capital. Areas such as Canary Wharf, Kensington, Covent Garden and Mayfair are likely to benefit the most, as they are especially popular with our international clientele.”

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