With Saturday January 25 2020 marking Chinese New Year – a period of celebration for the estimated 120,250 Chinese people living in London, comprising 1.5% of the city’s population – Harrods Estates has seen interest from its Chinese buyers rise from 2.5% in 2016 to 20% in 2019.
It is thought that Chinese clients desire a base in the capital and Chinese families especially want to give their children a British education.
As a result, property hotspots for Chinese buyers include Marylebone (close to the Chinese Embassy) and several of the new-build developments near the River Thames – given that flowing water is a sign of good fortune in Chinese culture.
For Harrods Estates and its high-net-worth (HNW) Chinese clientele, it’s common for an appointed Feng Shui master to make an initial visit to check on the suitability of a property before a client makes their own viewing or places an offer based on lucky numbers only (6, 8 and 9).
Feng Shui masters will also give a blessing to a house before the new owner moves in. Harrods Estates is able to source a Feng Shui consultant if requested.
Shaun Drummond, director of sales at Harrods Estates, comments: “In the past 18 months alone, sales to Chinese buyers have risen exponentially and this trend looks set to increase in 2020. Our website translates into Mandarin and our web analytics shows an increasing number of views on this version.”
One memorable sale for a Chinese client was an agreed sale price of £4,888,888 for a stunning three-bedroom apartment which was positioned directly opposite Harrods in Knightsbridge. The apartment offered 24-hour concierge, underground car-parking and a resident’s fitness centre with a lap pool and gym.
Another property on the market with Harrods Estates is The Corniche on the Albert Embankment – a highly sought-after new development which enjoys views over the River Thames and sits on the eighth floor spanning approximately 1,518 sq ft.
The apartments feature a master suite with dressing area, en-suite bathroom and a balcony. There is a second double bedroom with en-suite bathroom and a third bedroom with a separate bathroom. The kitchen and living room are open-plan, with another balcony that overlooks the river, and the building benefits from a swimming pool, gym and residents’ lounge.
Another highlight – due to complete in mid-2020 – is a resale apartment in One Casson Square, next to the London Eye and adjacent to Westminster. Facing towards the South Bank and the City, this dual aspect two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment of circa 1,112 sq ft is on the 22nd floor. The open-plan living and dining area offers panoramic views and also features a private balcony of approximately 80 sq ft.
Simon Barry, head of new developments at Harrods Estates, adds: “London has long been known as a multicultural and world-class city, so it stands to reason that we’re seeing increasingly affluent Chinese clients come through our doors looking for the perfect property which has a positive energy and auspicious Chi.”
“For instance, we’ve seen interest in new developments which provide a blank canvas – without what could be described as ‘energy locks’ from past owners. In several cases, many new developments in London are Chinese-backed projects from Hong Kong and mainland China investors.”
He says confidence from Chinese buyers has been ‘undimmed by the prospect of the UK’s future outside the EU’.
“Our most recent sale to a Chinese buyer exchanged in November just before the general election: a £1,400,000 property bought by a Chinese family based in Hong Kong, for their son studying in London,” he says.
For the year 2020, in particular, the Year of the Rat is significant for those thinking of buying a home; the Rat denotes clever and quick thinkers who are successful, yet content with living a quiet and peaceful life.
Interestingly, for the New Year’s Day specifically - where the Rat represents the beginning of a new day - it is forbidden to sweep or clean the house, or else good fortune will be swept away.
Recently, Property Investor Today gave insight on what Chinese tenants are looking for from a London rental property.