The number of London homes being bought by Hong Kong buyers has quadrupled since the UK’s visa scheme has allowed many to relocate.
Hong Kong buyers now account for four per cent of transactions in the capital, up from one per cent, according to client data from property firm Benham and Reeves.
Since the British National Overseas visa opened its doors to applications in January, around 300,000 Hong Kong residents are expected to make use of the visa over the next five years.
“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,” Benham and Reeves director, Marc von Grundherr, said.
With Hong Kong maintaining its title as the most expensive city in the world for property, interest in luxury London properties from Hong Kong buyers rose fourfold last year.
However, priorities for those relocating appear to have shifted, as Von Grundherr said recent demand was for more average market priced properties.
Instead of looking for a new investment opportunity, many are now simply looking for a home following political unrest.
Figures from Benham and Reeves revealed that those from Hong Kong accounted for around 1,900 capital property purchases since July last year. More than double the 800 seen between July 2019 and April 2020.
According to the Telegraph, the total number of London property sales has fallen, meaning the Hong Kong nationals’ share of the market has quadrupled.
Investment consultant London Central Portfolio told the Telegraph that 28 per cent of its current buyers are Hong Kong residents.
Meanwhile, two-thirds of its Hong Kong clients are looking to buy a property in prime central London for personal use.
“Historically their real estate requirements were focused around investment property with the principal aim of letting,” the chief executive of London Central Portfolio, Andrew Weir, said.
“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 the BNO visa scheme was announced in July last year, 34 per cent of traffic to the London Central Portfolio website has come from Hong Kong.