London-based brokers and developers are reporting rocketing interest from affluent Hongkongers keen to buy new homes and relocate to the UK capital under the new British National Overseas pathway launched by the UK government in January.
The pandemic and the constantly changing travel restrictions have put barriers in place for prospective buyers, but experts like Naomi Heaton, chairman of London Central Portfolio and founder of The Other House, say the floodgates are opening as international flights slowly return. She reports a 50 per cent increase in the number of Hong Kong buyers in July 2021 compared to the previous 12 months, plus a 29 per cent increase in website traffic from Hong Kong over that period.
“A smart buyer will be buying this year,” she says. “There isn’t much stock out there and prices are suppressed. You tend to have people who really need to sell [who are] selling at the moment.” Heaton describes the “sweet spot” for Hong Kong investors being around HK$30 million, which will buy a three-bedroom flat in central London.
While buying UK property is nothing new to Hong Kong investors, own-home purchases call for greater consideration of factors like location, amenities, build quality and nearby schools than average buy-to-let or other types of remote property investments. Especially if buying in places like London, making wise and informed choices is essential and working with trusted agents is second only to viewing the place in person.
1. The Owo Residences by Raffles
The OWO, the regenerated Old War Office in Whitehall, is suited to buyers who enjoy the serviced apartment lifestyle and who want to own a piece of characterful London history. The super prime development adjacent to St James’ Park will be completed in 2022 and will comprise the capital’s first Raffles hotel with 125 rooms and suites, 85 branded residences, restaurants, bars and a spa.
Head of sales Charlie Walsh says Hong Kong buyers are already staking their claims on apartments. “We’ve had great response from the Asian markets, because of the love affair with London and amazing, authentic and heritage buildings with incredible stories, and having five-star hotel service.”
From HK$62.3 million for a two-bedroom apartment. theowo.london