Wall Street Jornal: Hong Kong Expats Are Buying Up Luxury Homes From London to Los Angeles

  • 09/24/20

Hong Kong Expats Are Buying Up Luxury Homes From London to Los Angeles

As the U.K. property market rebounds from the Covid-19 lockdown, the capital’s prime residential sector has also received an unexpected boost from Hong Kong residents wanting to relocate. "We’ve never had so many serious inquiries from Hong Kong," said Trevor Abrahmsohn, managing director of Glentree, a luxury home agency. "These buyers are looking at the top end of the market," such as rentals of $51,100 a week and sales of up to $76.6 million, he said.

Clients have told Mr. Abrahmsohn they are reacting to the recent political changes in Hong Kong. The territory has been rocked by months of mass demonstrations and the imposition of new laws. "Some buyers have said they’d never considered relocating before but would now rather put their money in the U.K.," he said. "They feel they’re at risk in Hong Kong."

According to Jeremy Gee, managing director of Beauchamp Estates, Hong Kong nationals are invariably cash buyers. Unlike mainland China, there are currently no restrictions on moving money out of Hong Kong. "However, this situation may change, an uncertainty that may be boosting interest in overseas assets, like property," he said.

Hong Kong buyers typically want new homes, or properties that have been recently upgraded and refurbished said Mr. Abrahmsohn. They often want to purchase multiple residences for family members, he said. One client wanted six properties close together. In another Glentree-brokered negotiation, a Hong Kong businessman bid on three properties worth $103.5 million.

Peter Ng, a Singapore-based broker, said Vietnam and Indonesia also make attractive investment options. Both, he said, are much less expensive than China and Hong Kong.

The West Coast of the U.S. is also a destination for high-net-worth buyers. Tomer Fridman, an agent with Compass Real Estate in Los Angeles, said the number of inquiries from Hong Kong clients has tripled this year. "We’ve seen an influx of buyers with $20 million plus, mainly in the ‘platinum triangle’ of Bel-Air, Beverly Hills and Holmby Hills."

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