Commentary on Political Economy

Friday, 6 November 2020



Hong Kong Homeowners Look to Sell as Emigration Demand Rises

  • Home listings at Centaline Property jump 44% from a year ago
  • Residents with plans to leave city contribute to rise in stock

Hong Kong is seeing a surge in home listings as the recession and a security crackdown by China prompt more residents to sell their properties.

Listings at Centaline Property Agency Ltd., the city’s largest realtor, have jumped 44% from a year ago to more than 26,000, the company said.

Many Hong Kong residents are looking to leave the financial hub amid escalating political tensions over China’s new national security law. Rising unemployment sparked by the pandemic is also driving up listings.

“When people emigrate to a new country, they naturally would choose to sell properties back home,” said Derek Chan, head of research at Ricacorp Properties Ltd.

Hong Kong jobless rate hits the highest since January 2005

The national security law that tightens China’s grip on Hong Kong has prompted some residents to look for an exit plan, with the U.K. among the most popular destinations given the colonial ties to the city.

Eric Yip, a director at Link-UK Property Consultancy who brokers sales of U.K. properties for Hong Kong residents, said his firm saw a more than threefold jump in transactions between June and August from the same period last year. The U.K. has offered a pathway to citizenship for 3 million eligible Hong Kong residents.

Most of his clients have sold their properties to fund their purchases in the U.K., Yip added.

Despite the increasing supply of secondary homes in the market, property prices remain resilient. Resale home values slipped by less than 1% since the start of the year, according to Centaline.

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