Hong Kongers rush to snap up north­ern Eng­land prop­er­ties

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By

Melissa Law­ford

DE­MAND for prop­erty in north­ern Eng­land from Hong Kong buy­ers is surg­ing as the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment’s squeeze on the city in­ten­si­fies.

Peo­ple from Hong Kong have long bought prop­erty in Bri­tain as in­vestors, con­cen­trated in Lon­don. Now, agents re­port that many are buy­ing for their fam­i­lies in north­ern Eng­land, in a quest for value for money.

Oliver James, a Manch­ester es­tate agent, said: “In the last two weeks, we have done seven sales to Hong Kong buy­ers. We have sold three prop­er­ties just to­day. Pre­vi­ously, we’d sell one to a Hong Kong buyer every six months.”

In con­trast to high net worth peo­ple who tend to in­vest in Lon­don’s pre­mium mar­ket, new buy­ers are in their 30s and 40s and typ­i­cally buy­ing midrange, three-bed­room semi-de­tached houses, said Mr James.

Es­tate agents in the cap­i­tal have also re­ported that de­mand for high-end prop­erty from Hong Kongers has risen sharply since the Bri­tish Gov­ern­ment of­fered a route to cit­i­zen­ship through Bri­tish na­tional over­seas pass­ports.

For those buy­ing in the North, value for money is key, said Alex Gold­stein, a prop­erty con­sul­tant.

Some Hong Kongers are look­ing be­yond Lon­don for “the bet­ter yields, more sta­ble mar­ket and widely held view of greater mar­ket ap­pre­ci­a­tion over the next five years”. “We’ve had some silly of­fers,” he added, cit­ing the ex­am­ple of one buyer of­fer­ing £6,000 over ask­ing value af­ter only a vir­tual view­ing.

An­other tried to buy a £130,000 house for £142,000 with­out see­ing it, but pulled out af­ter look­ing at the lo­cal schools. This quest for more af­ford­able prices could be partly due to the fact that those want­ing to leave do not have time or de­sire to sell their homes in Hong Kong, a mar­ket among the most ex­pen­sive in the world.

Ben Hud­son, of York es­tate agents Hud­son Moody, said he had sold five prop­er­ties to Hong Kong buy­ers in the last eight weeks.

“Nor­mally, we would sell two or three prop­er­ties to Hong Kong buy­ers in a year. It’s a huge change,” he said.

Hud­son Moody has now started di­rect­ing on­line ad­ver­tis­ing to Hong Kong and found that there is great de­mand. “We get half a mil­lion hits in a month if we post some­thing in Hong Kong,” said Mr Hud­son.

“That is five times what we get on a post in Bri­tain.”

Bri­tish ex­pats in Hong Kong are also driv­ing sales back home. James MacKen­zie of es­tate agency Strutt & Parker re­ports that they “are com­ing back in droves”.

Strutt & Parker has just sold two £2m-plus town­houses in Bath to Bri­tish ex­pats in Hong Kong.

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