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Number of Hong Kongers buying London property quadruples

·2-min read
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The proportion of London homes bought by Hong Kongers has quadrupled since a new visa scheme allowing residents of the island to relocate to Britain was announced last July.

Property firm Benham and Reeves said Hong Kong buyers now accounted for 4pc of London transactions among its clients, up from 1pc.

The rise intensified since the British National Overseas visa opened for applications in January. The new policy could see 300,000 Hong Kong residents move to Britain in the next five years following increasing interference in the region from mainland China.

Marc von Grundherr, of Benham and Reeves, said: “We’ve not only seen a surge in enquiry numbers coming from Hong Kong nationals since the announcement of the BNO visa offer last year, we’ve also seen a number of buyers committing to transactions.”

Interest in luxury properties in the capital from Hong Kong buyers increased fourfold last year, but Mr Von Grundherr said recent demand was for more average market priced properties.

Benham figures showed that Hong Kongers accounted for an estimated 1,900 London property purchases since July 2020, more than double the 800 seen between July 2019 and April 2020. The overall number of London property sales has fallen meaning the Hong Kong nationals' share of the market quadrupled.

This comes amid predictions of a “summer frenzy” from overseas buyers once international travel resumes. Cauvery Nanaiah, of property company Strawberry Star, said there was pent up demand from Asian buyers in particular waiting to view British properties in person.

“When overseas travel opens up and in-person viewings can take place, we will see the true extent of where Hong Kong buyers, who are using the new visa route, want to call home,” he added.

Priorities among Hong Kong buyers in the London market have shifted, with many now looking for a home rather than an investment opportunity.

According to London Central Portfolio, an investment consultant, 28pc of its active buyers are Hong Kong residents. Two thirds of these are looking to purchase a property in prime central London for their own use.

Andrew Weir, of the company, said: “Historically their real estate requirements were focused around investment property with the principal aim of letting.

“The change we have witnessed recently is a refocusing of their priorities to purchase properties that could eventually be used for their own personal use.”

Since July last year, when the BNO visa route was announced, 34pc of traffic to the London Central Portfolio website has come from Hong Kong.

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