UK’s Overseas Property Market: Slowly Taken Over by Hong Kong

The UK is a prime market for Hong Kong applicants seeing a residency visa.

But how in-demand is UK property for Hong Kong passport holders? As the numbers below show, it’s quite hefty:

  • Every week, over 3000 Hong Kong BNO passport carriers apply for special-purpose visas
  • Hong Kong nationals have spent close to $1.3 billion on London homes
  • 4% of all homes sold in London went to Hong Kong applicants (just 9 months after the UK opened its special-purposes path)

In fact, the British government predicts that within 5 years of the special purpose program, over 300,000 Hong Kong BNO passport carriers will purchase a home in the UK.

Increase in Demand

The previous numbers are actually a sharp increase in-demand from a similar timeframe in a previous year.

Between 7/2019 and 3/2020, Hong Kong applicants bought $522 million of London homes (being 1% of total home purchases).

But that doesn’t mean that Hong Kong interest is the only demand for property. The second largest consumer of UK exhibitions are French, and they aren’t far behind in numbers.

That aside, the UK does have competition. Countries such as Australia and Canada rank 2nd and 3rd in Hong property exhibitions. And in total, those top three countries account for 70% of exhibition purchases by Hong Kong nationals.

How Much is UK Demand Accelerating?

Between 7/2020 and 4/2021, the UK accounted for around 50% of property exhibitions bought by Hong Kong nationals. Compared to last year, only 15.5% of UK property was in-demand.

Also, throughout 7/2020 and 4/2021, 600+ UK exhibitions took place, with over half centered on London property.

So far, this indicates that London dominates the interest of Hong Kong purchases, where 1/5 of exhibitions took place in London in the past 9 months.

Hong Kong’s Buying Patterns

Buyer interest is adapting to the pandemic.

At the start of the 9 month timeframe, buyers were focused on London’s main metropolitan areas, being Greater Manchester, West Midlands, and Greater London.

Now, Hong Kong buyers are seeking low population density areas. They’re opting for University towns such as Cambridge, Oxford, in addition to Home Counties.

What’s Driving the Demand?

The UK’s property market is considered cheaper than Hong Kong’s. In fact, Hong Kong boasts one of the world’s most expensive property markets, where one get twice as much bought for similar finances in London.

According to Bloomberg, it’s estimated that up to $20 billion of Hong Kong homes will be up for sale this year. This equals a drop of 13,000 to 16,000 households.

Even with the expected mass sales, the homes sold shouldn’t affect Chinese house market prices. As current locals immigrate, mainland investors will absorb the supply.

As a result, it’s expected that Hong Kong’s secondary home prices will remain high. And they already are at an all-time high (with record low mortgage rates in a decade).

Even new buyers are benefiting from the increase, with some seeing an 11% value increase in the past quarter.