We are seeing strong and increasing demand from Hong Kong professionals looking to find a home in London. Many are moving to the UK under the BNO visa scheme and usually they decide to rent here first, perhaps for six months to a year, until they get to know an area and decide that this is where they would like to buy a property and settle down long-term.
So that initial decision on where to rent is incredibly important. But London’s severe shortage of rental properties is presenting a problem. With stocks so low, properties are letting extremely quickly, sometimes before the property is even advertised. This means applicants may have to rent a property while still living in Hong Kong, based on just seeing a video of it. Alternatively, they may have to take a short let apartment in London for some time when they arrive, so that they can view properties in person.
For some Chinese professionals coming to the UK, this may be their first visit to London, so accurate advice is essential to help them find the area that is right for them and to guide them throughout the process of renting a property in London. We work closely with professionals and this support is now more important than ever due to the huge shortage of properties and changing pace of the rental market.
Competition for rental properties in London is so strong that applicants need to make an offer quickly in order to secure their chosen rental property. In fact, we would advise anyone looking to move to London soon, to talk to us in advance so we can notify them of properties becoming available and so help them secure the right home for their budget in this challenging market.
A real hotspot for Hong Kongers is Beaufort Park, the popular residential development in Colindale, North West London. Here there is an established Chinese community in the area served by good amenities such as Chinese supermarkets Loong Foon and Wing Yip and Oriental City, London’s largest Asian food court.
Budgets for renting in London are good, typically £1,700-£2,000 per month for a two bed property or £2,300-£2,500 per month for a three bed apartment.
Outside London or on its fringes, many families are looking at areas that offer more space such as Surrey, Kingston on Thames, Reading and St Albans as these are good commuter towns making a journey into the City of London or Canary Wharf relatively quick and easy.
Most homebuyers are purchasing a property to live in themselves as they settle into their new lives in the UK. But we are also seeing growing demand from individuals looking to invest in a buy-to-let property that will give them a good long-term rental income. They have sold their properties in Hong Kong and so are looking to invest in the UK now. Popular areas for buyers are similar to those that are sought-after by renters and again the Colindale area is a real hotspot.
Priorities for homebuyers are plenty of space, good schools nearby, a safe neighbourhood, parking and ideally amenities such as Chinese supermarkets. Those looking to buy a property in London will usually opt for an apartment while those looking outside London will usually prefer a house. Typically, homebuyers will be looking for a property priced at £500-£600k for a two bed or up to £800k for a three bed apartment.
Hong Kongers and Chinese nationals looking to buy or rent a property in London can find a very helpful service through our China Desk here in London. And we have local offices in Hong Kong Central and Shanghai for anyone needing advice or assistance with anything to do with UK property investment or living. Our multi-lingual team will be able to help you find the perfect property in this complex and fast-moving market.
Get in touch with Penny Cheung, Head of China Desk London here.
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