China is one of the fastest growing markets for the UK real estate industry. Driven by the “Boris bounce”, weak sterling and the postponed stamp duty surcharge for overseas buyers, property sales agents have seen a large increase in Chinese buyers in the recent months. According to Hamptons International, the Chinese buyer share has increased to record levels, accounting for a 6 percent of all PCL sales. Harrods Estates has also seen its Chinese clientele increase from a 2.5 percent market share in 2016 to 20 percent in 2019.
Transactions may be delayed by COVID-19 due to travel restriction of Chinese buyers and cancellation of in-market sales events. However, Chinese buyers’ appetite to purchase UK property remains strong. Interest from Chinese buyers on certain schemes, particularly those in the City, east and west London, is “up 50 to 60 percent,” since the outbreak began, says Knight Frank.
Chinese buyers are still looking for an investment that will generate high return as well as a life-style aspired immigration plan for their family. Chinese buyers are utilising the current time to do research and make enquiries online for their purchase plan. According to Juwai, China’s top international property portal, Chinese buyer demand for UK properties grew 6.8% in February, with significant increase in online property research activity conducted mainly on social media and video platforms.
The typical Chinese buyers’ decision making process is highly influenced by their family and friends living in the UK, a customer segment often overlooked by UK property developers. There are approximately 600,000 Chinese settled in the UK, and 410,000 Chinese nationals working and studying here. They are a major buying force that generate inner-circle influence power and as they trust each other’s opinions so much, it often replaces the need to view the property physically.
Undoubtedly China offers enormous opportunities for property sales, but how to ensure you capitalise on this opportunity and stand out in in the fierce competition?
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