HK residents moving to UK may sell $25.6b of homes in 2021

HONG KONG • Hong Kong home owners may sell as much as HK$150 billion (S$25.6 billion) worth of property this year when residents immigrate to Britain.

The city is expected to see about 13,100 to 16,300 households move to Britain via their British National (Overseas) visas this year, Bloomberg Intelligence said in a report yesterday.

The number represents 0.9 per cent to 1.1 per cent of households living in privately owned homes.

If all of them sell their properties to fund their move and living costs, they could generate a maximum of HK$150 billion this year alone, Bloomberg estimates show.

The British government's plan to make it easier for Hong Kong residents with BN(O) status to obtain citizenship is prompting a migration and rise in home offers.

Property listings at Centaline, Hong Kong's largest real estate agency, surged by 44 per cent from a year earlier to more than 40,000 homes.

That's not to say Hong Kong's property market will fall into an abyss any time soon. Buyers are absorbing the increased supply in the market.

As an indicator of robust market activities, used-home sale value this month is on track to hit a 23-year high at HK$50 billion, according to Centaline.

Meanwhile, prices remain resilient with current values just 5.4 per cent lower than the historical peak set in mid-2019.

Mortgage rates also dropped to the lowest in more than a decade, boosting appetite from home buyers.

Wealthy Hong Kong buyers are looking to snap up homes in Britain. They quadrupled their proportion of home purchases in London's most expensive areas last year, according to agency Hamptons International, accounting for 8 per cent of luxury homes bought that year.

More than 35,000 eligible Hong Kongers have applied for the BN(O) programme, The Times reported earlier this month.

Those Hong Kong residents who are seeking to invest in Britain may face fierce competition.

Lifestyle changes during the pandemic and a tax break on home purchases have pushed Britain's property market to new heights this year, with the proportion of homes available to buy at its lowest, according to property website Rightmove.


Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 28, 2021, with the headline HK residents moving to UK may sell $25.6b of homes in 2021. Subscribe