The ‘potent’ mix of the Covid-19 pandemic and the slow demise of the Evergrande Group, one of China’s largest development companies, is driving UHNWIs to seek property investment assets in the UK, with long term value growth.
That’s according to London buying agency Astute Property Search which, since the end of 2021, has seen a marked rise in Chinese nationals searching for properties that provide genuine investment possibilities, as well as potential future primary or second homes.
Matt Turner, founder of Astute Property Search, said of the trend: “Many of my clients are domestics and British expats, however, we have recently seen a wave of enquiries from Chinese and Hong Kong nationals looking for property with a dual purpose. The first desire is to secure an asset that will deliver a good yield and value growth, whilst also fitting the bill as a future home for their university-age dependents or as their primary home should they decide to relocate.”
Since September 2021, Astute Property Search says it has sourced properties for Asian clients targeting sizeable properties in Greater London and the Home Counties, attracted by the lifestyle and amenities on offer in these areas.
“We have sourced properties for those looking for something that isn’t just an asset, but a potential home. The key requirements include being close to good schools, transport connections, green spaces and golf courses, with price points ranging between £750,000-£3 million,” Turner said.
“Those sourced at the lower end have been primarily for university-age dependents, whilst we have also sourced some prime homes that will be initially rented out, with the future goal of it becoming a primary or secondary residence.”
One example the company points to is a couple based in Asia that were being squeezed by events in China and were also mindful of the recent boom in prices in the UK. They wanted to move some of their wealth and had plans to move in the next 1-2 years, so needed to find something that would generate a return until they were ready.
When it came to sourcing their desired property type (a three or four-bedroom house with good outside space), what they wanted to buy was high in demand. This, combined with very little coming to the market, meant competition was fierce. However, Astute Property Search says it sourced a modernised period home in North London, which was immediately rented out by their partner estate agency Rash & Rash.
Turner said of the deal: “Originally, the clients wanted to concentrate on new-build stock and whilst buying off plan is nothing new, the properties that we normally source and encourage clients to purchase for investment are existing period properties and not new builds that are yet to be constructed. It’s a tried and trusted method and one that has delivered for our clients over many years.”
With the Chinese economy still teetering since the collapse of Evergrande, Astute Property Search has predicted an increase in this trend, as more Asian investors need change and begin looking for end user value over pure yield.