Hong Kong-based property investors are looking for safe havens in London after high-profile political protests at home.
Several West End and City agents told the Standard of higher enquiries from Hong Kong buyers for commercial property in the capital. The interest comes after widespread protests in the former British colony over a proposed bill permitting extraditions to mainland China.
Savills’ director, central London investment, Jonathan O’Regan said: “We are definitely seeing a recent upswing in investor interest from Hong Kong, which could be attributed to the political situation there.”
He said: “Savvy investors are seeing cheap sterling (amid Brexit) as being the ideal opportunity to invest into core assets, such as those in prime West End locations.”
James Beckham, head of central London investment at CBRE, said: “Hong Kong investors have for a long time been some of the most prolific outbound sources of Asian capital. They are shrewd investors and London’s strong fundamentals remain very attractive particularly when there are some challenges within Hong Kong itself.”
He said they are continuing to take the opportunity to step into the London market, “a trend we expect to continue for the foreseeable future”.
London office purchases slumped in the first half as would-be buyers waited for more clarity on Brexit, although a number of sales to Hong Kong firms are expected to complete in the coming months.
Aidan Meynell, head of City of London investment at BNP Paribas Real Estate, said: “Overall, there is a feeling that Hong Kong investors are gently starting to be more inquisitive towards London real estate again as sterling begins to look weaker against their domestic currency and the US dollar and possibly, due to the political anxiety in their country.”
Meynell added: “Notwithstanding our own political uncertainty, London remains a leading global city, offering stable growth prospects, a transparent market place and attractive yield spread when compared to other major European and international cities.”
Last week Colliers International and Cushman & Wakefield brokered a deal to sell office block 8 Salisbury Square to Hong Kong investors for a rumoured £230 million.