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>Hong Kongers snap up UK homes and do what they excel at: being landlords
>Hong Kong residents are buying more houses and apartments to lease out for income in Britain, property agents say, a trend that coincides with what many expect to be a wave of emigration after China passed a national security law last year. Hong Kongers became the fifth largest foreign investors in central London as of last August and have been driving up prices in some popular districts outside the UK capital.
>London estimates that over 300,000 Hong Kong residents could emigrate over the next five years, and Bank of America expects Hong Kong residents moving to Britain could trigger capital outflows of $36 billion in 2021. While Hong Kong residents have long been active buyers of homes in Britain, real estate agents say more recently there has been increasing interest in older apartments and houses as rental assets. Hong Kongers have an affinity for real estate investment, with property prices in the Asian financial hub among the most expensive in the world.
>Alan Wan, 38, who owns 13 residential properties in Britain, launched classes in Hong Kong two years ago – at the height of anti-government protests in Hong Kong – aimed at potential investors in properties in and around Manchester. So far, his “UK Property Owner Association” class has attracted around 1,500 students. Enrolment spiked in the second half of last year after Beijing imposed the national security law.
>One of Wan’s students, 30-year old Isla Kwok, who moved to Manchester in late January waiting to start a degree, is using the rental income she receives from a terraced house bought in 2019 to finance the cost of renting a smaller flat and mortgage payments. She plans to re-mortgage her first property to buy a second one this year after getting a residence permit, as mortgage interest rates will be much lower.
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