London sees surge in international tenants as market picks up

24 June 2021 | Renting

London sees surge in international tenants as market picks up

High profile London lettings agency Chestertons says there’s been an increase in Hong Kong residents looking to rent a home in the UK capital.

Sales enquiries from Hong Kong buyers have also risen by 20 per cent over the past 18 months whilst demand for rental properties is expected to increase ahead of September, when students head to London’s universities.

Chestertons also experienced a 115 per cent increase in website visitors from Hong Kong in May 2021 compared to May 2020. The agency says the uplift in Hong Kong investors is likely to continue following the UK government’s recent visa offering to the 2.9m Hongkongers with British National Overseas (BNO) status.

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Guy Gittins, Chestertons chief executive, says: “Historically, the UK has always had a strong bond with Hong Kong, and London has been a key destination for HK property investors. Whilst the number of foreign investors in London fell dramatically during the height of the pandemic, the new visa regulations and imminent easing of travel restrictions has revived London’s appeal as an investment and lifestyle hotspot.”

The government expects around 300,000 Hongkongers with BNO status to take advantage of the visa, while there is an additional 2.3m dependents who could apply for UK residency over the next five years.

Richard Davies, the agency’s head of lettings, adds: “A significant proportion of tenants in city centres are international students and corporate tenants. However, due to COVID-related travel bans, the number of these sorts of tenants declined considerably last year but we are now witnessing a clear increase. 

“Inevitably, the return of renters from Hong Kong and other countries will drive rental prices across the capital. Areas such as Canary Wharf, Kensington, Covent Garden and Mayfair are likely to benefit the most, as they are especially popular with our international clientele.”

This post has originally been featured in Letting Agent Today.