Hong Kongers rush to snap up northern England properties
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.