- Hong Kongers have been scouting out London properties since China imposed a new national-security law on the city almost four weeks ago.
- “We have seen a 20% upturn in enquiries from Hong Kong buyers,” Jeremy Gee, Managing Director of Beauchamp, told Business Insider.
- Luxury agent Glentree also told Business Insider that it has seen increased demand from Hong Kongers.
- London is already extremely popular with Hong Kong’s business class, with thousands owning second homes there long before tensions with China intensified.
- The national security law essentially deprives the city of the political autonomy it had previously enjoyed from China.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Hong Kongers have been eyeing up luxury property in London in the weeks since China imposed a sweeping new law that all-but-ended the city’s autonomy.
In the wake of the law’s passage, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that three million Hong Kong citizens and their families would be able to get full British citizenship. Britain ruled Hong Kong for around 150 years until it handed it back to China in 1997.
Two of London’s leading luxury estate agents, Glentree International and Beauchamp Estates, told Business Insider they have both seen an increase in enquiries for London properties from Hong Kong buyers since June 29, the day China’s rubber-stamp parliament passed the national security law.
“Since the recent political issues and new laws being imposed by mainland China, we have seen a 20% upturn in enquiries from Hong Kong buyers,” Jeremy Gee, Managing Director of Beauchamp Estates, told Business Insider by email.
“This is likely to become a steady stream of ongoing enquiries now that the UK government has confirmed that three million Hong Kongers can have residency rights in the UK.”
The UK Home Office declined to say how many Hong Kong citizens have renewed their British National (Overseas) Passports, which would allow them to live and work in the UK until they can apply for full citizenship.
Glentree International, a luxury real-estate agent in north London, has also seen increased demand.
Trevor Abrahmsohn, the founder of Glentree, told Business Insider that his firm is in discussions with at least eight Hong Kongers who contacted the company after the law was passed nearly a month ago.
Abrahmsohn said the most expensive home under consideration is worth £50 million ($64 million), with another Hong Konger interested in renting a property for as much as £40,000-a-week ($52,000).
The rush for London may have started before the national security law was passed during the city’s widespread protests against the law before its passage.
Arlington Residential, another luxury agent, saw a 40% increase in enquiries from Hong Kong buyers for homes in Highgate and St. John’s Wood — two affluent residential areas in London — between June 8 and June 29, director Marc Schneiderman told the Times of London.
London is already extremely popular with Hong Kong’s business class, with thousands owning second homes there long before tensions with China intensified in recent years.
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Glentree’s Abrahmsohn said Hong Kongers he has spoken to have a “penchant for ultra-modern architecture, with gentle pastel decorated interiors, all in the modernistic vein.”
One Hong Konger, according to Abrahmsohn, “requested ‘a glass box’ situated on a plot of at least 0.5 acres or more.”
“The buyer insisted that the garden should have enough trees to fill the New Forest,” referring to a large national park in the south of England.
While London is clearly a favorite bolt hole, a Hong Kong real-estate tycoon also said this week he wants to build a new city in Ireland for 50,000 emigrants fleeing China’s crackdown.
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