Hong Kong-based expats still investing in UK buy to lets

Published:  26 Sep at 6 PM
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Over the past several years, the numbers of expats in Hong Kong investing in British property has grown substantially.

Nowadays, the idea of buying a property in Hong Kong as an investment is declining due to the island’s incredibly high real estate prices, with a basic home priced at almost 20 times the average local salary. As a result, home ownership totals on the island are some of the lowest in the world, leaving would-be expat investors looking elsewhere for affordable buy-to-lets. Due to Brexit, UK property prices are in decline, especially in the Northeast and the Midlands, with UK expats and local buyers from Hong Kong snapping them up at discount prices.

Buy to let mortgage completions are soaring as a result of the investment boom as well as expats’ and Hong Kong nationals’ fears of China’s reaction to the ongoing and increasingly violent demonstrations. Manchester is a popular location, as are other UK northern towns where employment is strong, including Leeds and Liverpool. In addition, all three cities have respected universities which welcome foreign students, and graduates are now finding jobs in the region rather than returning home. The three cities are known as the Northern Powerhouse and are well-equipped with transport infrastructure including links to London and the continent via rail and air.

Shrinking sterling is also playing a part in expat buyers’ interest in the British buy to let market, with those being paid in foreign currency such as the US dollar getting the best deals. Should Brexit result in a further devaluation, upfront deposits on property investment will reduce, giving even better deals, thus attracting even more buyers as sterling rental payments don’t involve currency fluctuation. Should there be another UK interest rate cut, those seeking buy to let mortgages will have even more reason to purchase property in the UK.
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