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Hull investment on the up as overseas buyers snap up Anlaby Road property

A Chinese businessman has snapped up a high-end residential complex in Hull in the latest example of foreign investment in the city.

Anchor House has been sold by Hull property company, Westfield Homebuyers, the multi-million-pound deal being handled by city legal firm, James Legal.

Westfield founder Mike Clayton purchased the iconic property, in Anlaby Road, from a housing association at auction five years ago and spent the following year on a refurbishment that transformed it into a high-quality rental complex that is now home to a range of young professionals, including medical staff working at Hull Royal Infirmary and visitors to some of Hull’s major industrial employers.

Mike said: “It had been used to house tenants with a variety of issues, and so was built from concrete and steel to withstand vandalism, arson and other issues, giving it a very institutional feel.

“We took it back to brick inside and created a suite of high-end flats and studio apartments, as well as putting in communal cooking, garden and barbecuing areas, and even a gym and sauna.”

It was Mike’s long-term passion for property that inspired the qualified chartered surveyor to take on what proved to be a tough but rewarding project.

Anchor House is now at the epicentre of Hull’s ongoing regeneration, with MyPad Accommodation acting as management agent for the building, but Mike, who is entering semi-retirement, has now sold the complex almost fully let and was not surprised that it was an overseas buyer.

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“Hull represents a really good investment compared to traditional hubs like London, Manchester or Leeds, because property remains relatively good value here, while still returning solid rental yields, particularly with interest rates on traditional savings still historically low,” he said.

Dealing with an international purchase in the midst of a global pandemic was no mean feat, however, the transaction taking longer than the anticipated three weeks – the deal eventually went through after about six months.

Simon Young, managing director of James Legal, said: “We take great pride in supporting major projects like this which are key to the city’s infrastructure and ongoing development.

“It’s the latest example of how our team regularly pull out every stop to get transactions over the line for our clients, even in the most challenging circumstances – in this case, in the midst of a historic global pandemic.”

Danny Gough, managing director of MyPad, said: “This deal was a fantastic development for all the companies involved, and indeed for Hull as a city.

“MyPad will continue to manage Anchor House for this overseas buyer, who I understand hopes this will be the first of many similar investments in this locality.

“And he’s not the only one, we’re seeing many similar enquiries, week-on-week, from foreign investors who like the look of what Hull and surrounding area has to offer.”

By Deborah Hall

Source: Hull Live

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Property investment in 2021. A year of new opportunities?

There are reasons to be optimistic over property investment in 2021 and the UK market moving forward, according to Paresh Raja.

It’s safe to say that there will seldom be another year like 2020. It seemed like there was be no end to the unprecedented developments that caught businesses, consumers, and investors completely off guard. Of course, the primary instigator of said uncertainty was the Covid-19 pandemic; an ongoing crisis that governments worldwide are still clambering to tackle.

A few weeks into 2021, however, and it seemed as though we may soon be entering the period of post-Covid-19 recovery. As the UK prepares to come out from under strict lockdown, the rollout of the AstraZeneca/Oxford and Pfizer/Biotech vaccines signifies the beginning of a transition back to normality.

But how should investors be preparing for the “new normal”? Which asset classes are set for impressive performances over the coming 12 months, and which may struggle to adapt to the post-Covid-19 era?

Commentators and investment advisors remain divided on the answers to these questions. What I’m interested in, however, is how the British real estate market will perform in 2021.

As numerous assets struggled to handle the unprecedented uncertainty imbued into the markets due to Covid-19, British property was able to easily hold its value; and even post record gains.

In November the average price of a residential property in the UK experienced its highest level of growth seen since 2015, according to Nationwide signifying a marked end to the previous four years of property price stagnation. Again, according to the building society annual house price growth rebounded to 6.9% from 6.4% in January, prices were up 0.7% month-on-month, more than erasing the small decline seen in January.

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So, looking ahead, can the UK property market maintain this momentum? Can investors look forward to another year of gains for British property owners? Or could future unforeseen developments knock the industry off course, reversing the gains seen last year?

Life under lockdown

The UK’s third wave of Covid-19 resulted in a third national lockdown being declared at the beginning of 2021, concurrent with the UK’s departure from the EU. Such a state of affairs meant that, for the month of January at least, we were unlikely to see the high rates of transactional activity recorded last year. Although prospective buyers can still move home, the added logistical complications of doing so during lockdown means that a slight property market slowdown is likely.

I believe that there is a strong chance that 2021 may even surpass 2020 in positive property sector growth. After the current lockdown passes, I am confident that the high levels of activity seen last year will continue; further increasing the average price of UK property.

Investors should take note. In December, Rightmove predicted house price growth of 4% over the coming 12 months, citing the knock-on effects of lockdown as a motivator for prospective buyers. Having spent the majority of last year home-bound, they claim, UK homeowners will be desperate to move home to larger lodgings; a trend that Rightmove believes will easily offset any negative market developments. Based on my experience, I consider such an analysis to hold some truth. As such, I can’t imagine that any negative repercussions of the UK’s EU departure will seriously deter investment into British real estate to any measurable extent, at least in the short to medium term.

But, as with any potential investment, there are still risks involved. The aforementioned unprecedented market uncertainty in 2020 meant that many UK lenders had to withdraw their mortgage products from the shelves and imposed meticulous loan application review processes. Consequently, many saw elongated mortgage deployment times, and even increased rates of application rejections.

Those hoping to profit from any potential 2021 UK property price growth, then, would do well to seek out alternative lenders with in-house credit lines to ensure they can easily close on transactions. We have seen increased demand for our bridging loans from buyers, investors, and their brokers needing tailored, quick finance solutions for their property dealings. Unless traditional lenders successfully adapt to the new normal soon, I can only foresee this trend continuing.

SDLT changing soon

One of the reasons so many people were eager to purchase property last year was due to the stamp duty land tax (SDLT) holiday, which allowed them to knock up to £15,000 off the SDLT fee on any given property transaction.

This policy is now due to end on 31 March 2021, despite some calls from within the industry for it to be extended. As such, property professionals and commentators alike are expecting a surge in demand for property before this key date. The reason is simple: investors eager to capitalise on future UK property price growth will understandably wish to avoid the additional SDLT tax that property transactions after this deadline will incur.

For overseas buyers and investors, the incentive to complete on property transactions is doubly important due to another upcoming change to SDLT: the 2% overseas-buyer surcharge.

This new policy, due to be implemented on 1 April, will impose an additional 2% tax on property purchases for buyers who aren’t already UK residents. For said buyers, then, the difference in potential SDLT bills on transactions before and after these dates will be substantial; meaning that a rush to finish such transactions soon is expected. Given the tight deadline, property investors will prioritise lenders that can approve applications in good time and quickly deploy loans to successful applicants.

Investors should take note of the points highlighted above, as there are great reasons to be optimistic about the performance of the UK’s property market moving forward. If there are any key lessons that investors should take away from 2020, it is that you should never underestimate the resilience of bricks and mortar. Demand is clearly rife, which means we are set for another 12 months of busy marketing activity.

By Paresh Raja

Source: WI

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Revealed – where are the best places for property investment overseas?

Purchasing an overseas property can be daunting and complicated at the best of times, and this is even more so the case with the economic and travel uncertainty caused by the ongoing global pandemic.

According to the research team at online letting agency Mashroom, choosing the right location is the best place to start for successful property investment.

The agency has revealed which cities across Europe are the best cities for those looking to invest their money in real estate, with the capital of Norway, Oslo, maybe surprisingly landing at the top of the list due to its pro-landlord laws and high rental prices.

The city has the second-highest rental rates across Europe, with landlords charging an average of €25.30 (£22.82) per square metre.

For overseas buyers, London is often seen as a safe haven and it landed in second place in Mashroom’s list. The capital city has the third-highest rental rates in Europe, averaging at €20.10 (£18.13), and – something that many London landlords might dispute – the city also had the strongest pro-landlord laws out of all the cities in Europe, scoring 2 on the GlobalPropertyGuide.

Below, you can see the top 10 cities in Europe for property investment:

  1. Oslo
  2. London
  3. Paris (inside)
  4. Copenhagen
  5. Amsterdam
  6. Madrid
  7. Warsaw
  8. Prague
  9. Rome
  10. Brussels

For its report, Mashroom looked at the cities with the strongest pro-landlord laws in place and the average rental rates in each city, and ranked them accordingly.

Luxury resort releases its annual report

Sticking with overseas property and the news that Quinta do Lago, the exclusive residential resort situated in the Algarve, has released its annual real estate market report. Following careful evaluation from February 2020 to February 2021, the report revealed a significant rise in virgin plot sales, despite the challenges posed by Covid-19.

Sales at Quinta do Lago’s virgin plot development, San Lorenzo North, have doubled when compared to 2019 while enquiries have grown by nearly half (47%). Some 65% of the plot site is now sold with seven villas now fully built. Plot prices have reached an ‘impressive starting price’ of €3.2 million, up by 26% over the past seven years.

In addition, despite the pandemic, Quinta do Lago Real Estate witnessed a 52% increase in the number of leads this January, when compared with the start of 2020. The resort has also welcomed a 300% increase in sales at the beginning of this year.

“Our buyers invest in Quinta do Lago because they have trust in our luxury market and quality offering and currently, we are continuing to receive a steady stream of interest and enquiries,” Sean Moriarty, chief executive of Quinta do Lago, said.

“Our virgin plot sales at our exclusive development, San Lorenzo North, have been performing extremely well with a 100% increase in sales. This is the largest demand we have seen and ultimately comes down to flexibility – San Lorenzo North offers buyers’ the chance to build their own home tailored to their unique demands, which have never mattered more than in the last year. We are not anticipating any significant increases in property prices due to the impact of Covid-19.”

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Emerging property trends

Like many other parts of the world, Quinta do Lago has seen a change in buyer priorities and demands. Buyers are now more demanding when choosing a property due to the increased amount of time spent at home, with a second home no longer viewed as a lock-up-and-leave bolthole but a safe space for someone to base themselves more permanently.

Because of the huge increase in working from home, high-speed internet is now a necessity and the importance of being located near to a top international school is also on the increase.

People are now changing the way they buy and view properties, too, with buying remotely becoming far more commonplace. Quinta do Lago Real Estate reported fewer property tours pre-purchase (due to travel restrictions, one site visit will now close a deal as opposed to three).

Unsurprisingly, there has also been more demand for real estate technology and digital tools, for example 3D guided virtual tours, to give people a good indication of the home they are going to buy without actually having to be there.

When it comes to buyer nationality, the UK continues to be Quinta do Lago’s strongest market despite the twin challenges of Covid and Brexit.

There has also been growing interest from the domestic market, increasing from 11% to 20%, while other feeder markets include Ireland. Interest from Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland is also continuing to grow.

Quinta do Lago has also found that the average age of buyers at the resort is falling significantly as it becomes a more family-focused and lifestyle destination. Since Covid, there has been a growth in enquiries from young families and three-generational families who are looking to move to a safe community with green, open space.

Lastly, the demand for the Golden Visa scheme remains low in this part of the Algarve – which will be disqualified from the scheme from the start of next year anyway – with more buyer interest in the tax benefits granted by Portuguese legislation, such as via the NHR scheme.

What are the investment opportunities?

Despite Covid-19, the team at Quinta do Lago say the last year saw fantastic investment opportunities at the luxury resort, with the estate utilising the quieter time to improve and enhance their offering.

This included a new real estate project, Wyndham Grand Algarve Residences, on which Quinta do Lago Real Estate has been appointed the sole local agent.

Popular seafood restaurant Casa do Lago also received a £1.25 million (€1.4 million) renovation and the golfing resort’s renowned South Course saw a £7 million (€8 million) investment. Following on from the launch of the Quinta Farm back in 2019, the resort has also announced a new sustainability strategy in the form of new measures ‘that will foster nature, conserve resources and support the community’.

With a property market that is continuously developing, Quinta do Lago boasts a variety of luxury homes including new builds, re-sales and rentals. All feature ‘top-of-the-range amenities and beautiful, high specification interiors’.

The area remains a low-rise, low density and ecologically driven region, consistent with its original masterplan, established more than 45 years ago.

To ensure this is preserved, careful building restrictions are in place which means new developments are limited to just 9% amongst 2,000 acres of terrain and three renowned golf courses, all situated in the protected nature reserve of Ria Formosa.

“Covid-19 is going to affect our view of modern living and more importantly, our priorities. British buyers are giving even more value to nature, green living, safe spaces, and low-density environments,” Moriarty added.

“The Algarve, and especially Quinta do Lago, lends itself perfectly to this new approach. Nestled within the privacy and security of the Ria Formosa nature reserve, we enable families, friends and individuals to live a clean, heathy and active outdoor lifestyle all year round. We are committed to providing people with an opportunity to invest in their lives, improve their quality of living and reconnect with the natural world and for these reasons, I think our future is very bright.”

It’s expected to be announced today by the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, that Portugal will be removed from the government’s red list of countries from which travel is severely restricted, as case numbers in the country have fallen swiftly – along with hospitalisations, deaths and patients in intensive care. The Algarve, for example, recently went nearly one week without a Covid-related death.

Portugal has been placed on the red list since it was launched in mid-January, largely because of its close relations with Brazil – source of a ‘variant of concern’. While international travel is banned in the UK until May 17, there is hope that travel between the two countries may now become easier this summer.

By Matthew Lane

Source: Property Investor Today

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UK named top hotspot for property investment by overseas investors

Overseas investors ranked the UK as the best residential property investment hotspot for 2021. What makes investing in UK property so appealing?

For a number of years, the UK property market has been a prime target for overseas investors, and this has continued at strong levels. Property investors from Asia, Europe and the US have particularly seen UK property as a solid investment choice in the past few years.

Recently, the UK was even named the top global property investment hotspot in a survey by international law firm DLA Piper. Of the 500 high-net-worth investors and asset managers surveyed, 33% said they wish to invest in UK property during 2021.

Investors headquartered in China and the US ranked the UK as the best for residential property investment. And investors in the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy named the UK the third best place for property investment.

Olaf Schmidt from DLA Piper comments: “The UK remains an attractive market for investment also post-Brexit which should provide confirmation and reassurance that the UK is a vital hub for activity and growth.”

Investors continue to be optimistic

Despite uncertainty still surrounding the global COVID-19 pandemic, investors remain optimistic about property investment. DLA Piper’s survey revealed more than half of respondents feel positive about the outlook of the European property investment market. Additionally, only 11% feel negative.

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Investors also shared why they remain so optimistic. The most common reasons stated were because of high demand and a shortfall in supply, strong yields and attractive prices.

Additionally, another recent study revealed nearly half of buy-to-let investors in the UK are remaining positive about the year ahead. According to Property Master, only 10% plan to exit the sector in 2021. And nearly 70% said they are not planning to sell their properties.

UK property market remains appealing

Foreign buyers and investors have been snapping up property across the UK before the additional 2% stamp duty surcharge comes into effect for overseas-based investors in April. However, many feel the stamp duty surcharge will unlikely deter overseas buyers in the future.

The fall in sterling, low mortgage rates and the UK’s strong property market will more than make up for this additional tax. The sector has strong long-term prospects for capital appreciation and increasing rental demand. And many overseas investors view the UK property market as a safe haven.

Additionally, interest from Hong Kong buyers and investors is set to surge with a new special visa opening to British National Overseas passport holders in Hong Kong on 31st January. This will likely lead to a significant number of Hong Kong residents emigrating to the UK and investing in property.

Throughout 2021, overseas and foreign investors are expected to continue investing in UK property at strong levels. In recent years, the UK property market has remained robust even during political and economic unease. Because of the sector’s resilience, overseas investors will continue snapping up UK property, even with the continued uncertainty of COVID-19.

Source: Buy Association

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Overseas investors expect real estate to drive UK growth

Some 31% of overseas investors said that real estate and construction would drive UK growth in the future, up from 10% in 2019 – the highest increase of any sector.

Real estate and construction is now in the top-three most attractive sectors, behind only digital (seen as driving future UK growth by 50%) and health and wellbeing (36%).

Russell Gardner, EY UK & Ireland head of real estate, hospitality & construction, said: “The government’s stated infrastructure plans have likely played a role in boosting interest in the real estate and construction sector.

“But the significant impact of the pandemic on UK high streets and workplaces has also encouraged many investors to re-imagine what real estate will need to offer in the future.”

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The pandemic has re-shaped investors’ strategies, with 61% saying that the changing model in major city centres will become an important theme in future investments.

Underlining the built environment’s importance to FDI more widely, 23% of respondents cited the reliability and coverage of infrastructure as an important factor for deciding whether to invest in a particular country.

EY’s UK Attractiveness Survey found that the proportion of overseas companies planning to invest in the UK in the next 12 months has fallen to 25% from a 10-year high of 31% in April.

Only 43% are continuing with the UK investments they planned before the pandemic, down from 72% in April.

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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Overseas investors target Scotland as property volumes rebound over summer

Property experts are banking on a strong end to the year after investment volumes in Scotland rebounded over the summer following a “Covid quarter” wipeout.

Investment volumes in the third quarter of 2020, covering July, August and September, reached £477 million, according to property consultant Colliers International’s latest snapshot.

That marked the highest quarterly figure in a year, though it was still almost 20 per cent below the five-year quarterly average of £564m. It comes after investment volumes slowed to a near standstill in the second quarter of this year, when the figure plummeted to just £35m.

The firm said there was hope for a strong end to the year with pent-up demand driving activity.

Oliver Kolodseike, associate director, research and forecasting, at Colliers International, said: “It is positive to see that transactional volumes have started to pick up again and we are now expecting a strong end to the year in Scotland as we recover from the ‘Covid quarter’.

“An annual investment total of £1.5 billion across all sectors would be a positive result given the nationwide lockdown earlier in the year.”

The firm’s analysis found that the office and alternative sectors accounted for three quarters of all activity by value, while investment volumes in the industrial sector were 40 per cent above its five-year quarterly average. Given the ongoing impact of the pandemic, activity in the retail segment was limited, Colliers noted.

There was a renewed interest in Scotland from Asia Pacific-based investors, who accounted for over half of all investment volumes. This included the quarter’s largest deal which saw South Korean Hyundai Asset Management purchase 1-3 Lochside Crescent in Edinburgh for just over £133m. The 247,500 sq ft asset is currently let to insurer Aegon.

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The deal marked Hyundai Asset Management’s second Edinburgh purchase in less than 18 months, having already bought Gyle Square in April 2019 for £55m in one of Scotland’s other largest office deals that year.

Looking in more detail at investment in the office sector, a total of £186m was invested during the third quarter, only slightly weaker than the £196m transacted a year ago and marginally below the five-year quarterly average of £193m.

In one of Scotland’s other largest office deals this year, Singaporean Elite Partners Capital bought 150 Broomielaw, the 97,000 sq ft building completely let to Scottish Enterprise, for £40m.

Industrial investment activity picked up during the past quarter, with volumes reaching £80m, 40 per cent above the five-year quarterly average of £56m.

The figure was boosted significantly by the sale of Amazon’s one million sq ft logistics centre to Korean-based KB Securities for £66.8m, representing the second-largest industrial deal ever recorded in Scotland.

Patrick Ford, director, national capital markets, Colliers International in Glasgow, said: “It was good to see this relatively strong investment performance in the industrial sector in Scotland’s two biggest cities in Q3.

“Overseas investors, particularly those located in Asia, remain very interested in the Scottish industrial sector and large deals continue to be done, despite global economic uncertainty on the back of Covid.”

By Scott Reid

Source: Scotsman

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Hong Kong and Chinese investment in London properties soars to new levels

According to up-market estate agency, Beauchamp Estates, Hong Kong and mainland Chinese investment in luxury Prime Central London residential property has soared to new levels, despite the global COVID-19 pandemic.

This group now accounts for 15% of international buyer home sales above £1million across pime central London and 20% of deals above £10 million.

The figures could to go higher with the proposed Hong Kong visa changes set to open the door to UK citizenship and further property investment for thousands more Hong Kongers.

Since the UK General Election of 12th December 2019 Beauchamp Estates has sold over £300 million worth of luxury London residential property to Hong Kong buyers in locations including Knightsbridge, Belgravia and Islington.

In rank order their largest groups of overseas clients investing in London luxury property are Chinese/Hong Kong buyers followed by Russians and Indians.

Last year the Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows that Hong Kong and mainland Chinese buyers invested £7.69 billion in London property including over £750 million invested in residential property in the City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.

ONS data shows that there are now some 218,975 properties in London owned by Chinese/HK buyers comprising 98,725 owned by Hong Kongers and 120,250 by mainland Chinese making London property the most popular investment destination for Chinese capital in the world.

Beauchamp Estates says that there are five distinct types of Chinese investors purchasing property in London.

The first group are purchasing one and two bedroom new build rental-investment apartments priced up to £2 million in locations including Canary Wharf, the City, Islington and the River Thames in Battersea, Chelsea and Fulham.

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The investors are looking at a 3-5% yield and often purchase off-plan and in bulk in order to gain a price discount/advantage.

The second group of buyers are affluent upper middle class Chinese and Hong Kong families typically spending between £5 million to £10 million for a London family home/luxury pied-a-terre in locations including St John’s Wood, Marylebone or Regent’s Park or £750,000 to £1.5 million for an apartment in Aldwych, Soho or Fitzrovia for their student offspring studying in London.

For these middle class families proximity to a good school or university is paramount and they like Marylebone and St John’s Wood because both are close to the Chinese Embassy at 49-51 Portland Place around which the Chinese political elite working in London are based.

The third buyer group are mainland China and Hong Kong’s super-wealthy business elite who will spend upwards of £15 million on a trophy property, typically something with a prestigious history or ultra-luxury design, located in London’s most prestigious addresses.

Beauchamp Estates say that this elite group prefer to buy either mansions in Knightsbridge, Mayfair, Belgravia or Avenue Road in St John’s Wood priced from £25 million to over £200 million or penthouses in trophy apartment buildings such as Clarges Mayfair, One Hyde Park, 20 Grosvenor Square or No.1 Grosvenor Square priced from £20 million up to £80 million.

The fourth buyer group are China and Hong Kong’s large corporations and property developers.

These corporations either invest in commercial property in the City, Canary Wharf or West End, or undertake direct or joint venture residential projects in the UK capital.

Over 40% of London’s office investment deals by international firms over the last two years have been done by Hong Kong corporations including CC Land, CK Asset Holdings, Nan Fung Group and Sino Group.

Beauchamp Estates observe that in addition, Chinese property corporations have undertaken joint ventures with domestic London developers examples include Sun Hung Kai Properties with Ballymore, Vanke with Galliard Homes and CC Land with Finchatton.

The fifth buyer group are Chinese Sovereign Wealth entities such as CIC which has been a major investor in London real estate.

Gary Hersham, Founding Director of Beauchamp Estates says:

“Since the 2019 General Election we have sold over £300 million of luxury London residential property to clients from Hong Kong.

“Over the last 12 months mainland and Hong Kong investors have become the leading overseas buyer group purchasing luxury London property and their dominance in the market has grown despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There are five different types of Chinese investor in the capital but sometimes these groups overlap, for example a large Hong kong corporation buys commercial property in the City, followed by the CEO buying a £100m mansion in Belgravia.”

“The Chinese believe that living on high ground or in homes where you are elevated above others brings good fortune, hence their preference for penthouses or landmark buildings.

“For the Hong Kong super-rich buying a trophy London mansion or penthouse is good for their personal profile, generating columns of profile boosting PR in traditional media and a storm on social media.”

Marcus O’Brien of Beauchamp Estates Private Office says:

“Wealth creation and the development of the property markets in Europe has taken 200 years, in China the same process has taken just 20 years.

“This huge acceleration of wealth creation and property development in China – some cities take just six months to construct – has provided China and Hong Kong with a “new money” middle class and a new money super-rich elite.”

“Because China’s wealth is so new, Chinese and Hong Kong buyers in London like purchasing either new homes or historic properties which have newly refurbished super-luxury interiors.

“The Chinese middle class life is focused around family whilst the business elite have a very consumer-concentric culture, they need to be seen to be successful when benchmarked against their peers, so if one buys a London property a business rival needs to acquire an even better one.”

Beauchamp Estates highlight that because of the poor Chinese bilateral relationships with the USA, Canada and Australia where the Chinese/Hong Kong elite would have formerly purchased property in Malibu, Los Angeles, the Hamptons and Toronto they have now retreated from these locations and prefer to invest in London.

Overseas buyer tax rates in Canada (20%) and Singapore (20%) are much higher than London and mainland and Hong Kong buyers often await getting UK residency visas before buying homes, thereby avoiding additional Stamp Duty.

Source: Property Industry Eye