Our China desk continues to see rising demand from both Chinese and Hong Kong buyers and renters, particularly Hong Kong BNO visa holders moving to the UK. The months of June, July and August are peak times for rental and sales enquiries as many expats wish to settle down in London with their families before the start of the September school term.
Additionally, BNO visa holders coming to London from Hong Kong who have been living in London for several months now are keen to put down roots by buying their first home in the UK.
Virtually all are professionals, typically working in industries including finance, banking, accounting and engineering. We’re also seeing increasing demand from teachers and nurses.
It’s difficult for renters to find a home in London at the moment, especially if they are new to the city, because of the high rental demand and severe shortage of properties generally. This is a city-wide problem for all lettings agents – not just Benham and Reeves.
The rental market is extremely competitive so professionals from Hong Kong and China need to act very quickly when they find the right property – this can come as a surprise. So it’s essential to start the property search early, before they arrive in London. To help expats navigate this difficult market we discuss their requirements and identify their needs before they leave for the UK, to get a detailed picture of what type of property they are looking for.
Many Chinese and Hong Kong expats have not visited or lived in the UK before so we offer them a thorough consultation, explaining the advantages of each area or development so they can decide if it is right for them. As soon as a property becomes available, we send them a WhatsApp message, with photos and videos, and we usually carry out a virtual tour, so they can see the property as soon as possible. If they like the property, many will pay a deposit immediately, without even seeing it in person, so they don’t lose out to someone else. Some applicants are now trying to outbid others, so acting quickly is essential to avoid this.
Typically, a family will be looking for a two or three bedroom property, furnished, with a parking space. A safe local area and community, together with good schools nearby are also important. Budgets are good – typically £1,700 – £2,100 per calendar month for a two bed and £2,400 – £3,000 per month for a three bed property.
One of the most popular developments, with both renters and buyers, is Beaufort Park in Colindale, which has a growing Chinese/Hong Kong community and excellent Chinese amenities including supermarkets. Colindale Gardens is also popular while nearby Mill Hill is another sought-after area.
Most Hong Kong professionals rent when they first arrive in London but ideally, they prefer to buy and put down roots as soon as possible. So if they like the area, they will start looking to buy a home within three to six months, ideally completing their purchase within their first year here. Most are cash buyers, having already sold their property in Hong Kong.
Demand to buy property is strong across North London, with typical budgets ranging from £450k – £600k for a two bed property and £600k to £800k for a three bed home.
With Beaufort Park in Colindale such a hotspot, most professionals will view both brand new homes and second-hand properties. They are also happy to buy off-plan, prepared to wait for the right property.
Our London-based China desk offers a complete property finding service for Hong Kongers and Chinese nationals looking to rent or buy a property in London. Our offices in Hong Kong central and Shanghai can also assist before they move to the UK. All our teams are multi-lingual so we can help you find the perfect property – discussing your needs in whichever language you prefer – English, Cantonese or Mandarin.
Get in touch with me, Penny Cheung, Head of China Desk London, if I can be of any assistance.
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