London’s prime housing market is seeing strong interest from Hong Kong and mainland Chinese buyers, with real estate agents reporting above-average levels of investment.
London-based estate agency Beauchamp Estates reports that over the past 6 months it has sold more than $374 million worth of luxury London residential property to Hong Kong buyers in prime locations including Knightsbridge, Belgravia, and Islington, in its new wealth survey.
Purchasers from Hong Kong and mainland China now account for 15% of its international buyer home sales above $1.2 million and 20% of deals above $12 million across prime central London–overtaking investors from Russia and India, it says. The data covers the period between December 2019 and June 2020.
These buyers are typically purchasing either new homes or historic properties with newly refurbished super-luxury interiors, Marcus O’Brien, of Beauchamp Estates Private Office, says in the report.
The sales include the “landmark” $264 million purchase of 2-8a Rutland Gate–a 45-bedroom mansion in Knightsbridge– and a 6-bedroom Belgravia Gate penthouse flat in Belgravia, both of which were bought by Hong Kong billionaires through Beauchamp Estates.
Increased levels of demand are believed to be driven by on-going political unrest in Hong Kong, which began last year when China’s parliament announced plans to implement a new, sweeping national security law.
At the Coda development in London’s Battersea, there has been a significant spike in deals and enquiries from Hong Kong nationals since plans for the law were announced, according to its developer Avanton. Of the 130 flats on offer, 35 have sold, 30% of which were to overseas buyers, with the majority from Hong Kong.
Further investment in London’s prime market is predicted after the British government announced yesterday it will offer a citizenship path to British National Overseas (BNO) passport holders in Hong Kong in response to China passing the controversial law two days ago. There are up to 3 million people who are eligible for U.K. residency.
Jeremy Gee, of Beauchamp Estates says that, “an estimated 10% –or 30,000– of these passport holders could potentially purchase in prime central London meaning there could be a significant uptick again going forward.”
According to a separate report by London-based real estate agency Aston Chase, Hong Kong and Chinese interest in London homes had been rising since protests begun in March 2019 though enquires had waned at the beginning of the year and during the Covid-19 U.K. lockdown.
Aston Chase says there has been a spike in Hong Kong nationals with existing homes in London upsizing into substantial family homes. These buyers have traditionally bought smaller, often new-build properties either to rent or for their children to use while studying in the U.K., it says.
According to Gee, London has long been a popular location for Hongkongers looking to both relocate and buy a second home. “Many have family members living here and they are drawn to its culture and its education system,” he says.
There are now some 218,975 properties in London owned by Chinese and Hong Kong buyers, with 98,725 owned by Hongkongers and 120,250 by mainland Chinese, according to researchers at Beauchamp Estates.