Hong Kong vs UK property prices: What will your money buy you?

Changes to the immigration rules for British National Overseas passport holders in June 2020 offered an alternative route to British citizenship for many Hong Kong residents.

Since the change, the property market has seen a significant increase in the number of homebuyers from Hong Kong, with around 7,000 Hong Kong residents settling in the UK since July.

Interest in UK properties from Hong Kong buyers has soared

Since the announcement, many Hong Kong buyers have been looking for investment opportunities, with particular interest in properties in London. So far, Hong Kong residents have purchased four times as many high-end London properties as they bought last year.

Hong Kong buyers are now the fifth-largest foreign investors in central London. Some of these buyers are preparing to live in the UK, but others are choosing to invest in the buy-to-let market.

There has also been interest in other UK cities, including Liverpool and Manchester, perhaps due to costs being lower than in the capital.

The Home Office predicts that up to 152,000 people could arrive in the UK during the next twelve months, with 322,000 by 2026.

So how do property prices stack up and how far will your money go if you’re buying property in the UK? Read on to find out.

Hong Kong’s housing market has stabilized

Hong Kong’s housing market has levelled out over the past two years. According to the Ratings and Valuation Department (RVD) the residential property price index was unchanged in 2020.

Larger apartments are more resilient and saw their prices increase during 2020, but smaller apartments saw their prices fall.

How property prices compare based on size and location

According to Rightmove, average prices per square metre in the UK hit almost £3,000 in 2020. The average asking price for a house in England and Wales is now £2,954 per square metre.

In London, the average asking price per square metre is £6,219, while, at the other end of the spectrum, property in the north-east of England averages £1,568 per square metre.

The table below illustrates what you can expect to get for your money depending on where you buy. Prices are based on the average cost per square metre in each location.

Approximate prices based on data from Global Property Guide (Q4 2020), Rightmove (Q1 2020) and Numbeo (April 2021), rounded up to the nearest GBP.

To give you a better idea of how far your money can go in the UK compared to Hong Kong, for £650,000, £30,000 less than a 40 square metre apartment in Hong Kong, right now you could buy:

  • 130.3 square metres in Berkshire: a modern four-bed house within walking distance of the local train station.
  • 96.7 square metres in Essex: a five-bed detached house with three reception rooms, study and playroom.
  • 120 square metres in Hertfordshire: a four-bed house within easy walking distance of the local train station.
  • 180.7 square metres in Kent: a five-bed detached house in a village location.

In the middle of the price range, for up to £1.5 million, instead of 80 square metres in Hong Kong, you could buy:

  • 422.6 square metres in Kent: an eight-bed detached house set in three acres of grounds with a heated swimming pool and separate annexe, less than 1 mile to the local station.
  • 198 square metres in Berkshire: a brand new 3-bedroom first-floor flat with two reception rooms, lift access and communal gardens.
  • 316.3 square metres in Sussex: a five-bedroom barn conversion in a secluded setting with approximately 3.5 acres of grounds and large gardens on three sides of the property.

If you fancy venturing further from the London commuter belt, you could consider Birmingham or Manchester:

  • 139.91 square metres in central Birmingham: for £769,000 you could buy a brand new two-bedroom duplex apartment in the Jewellery Quarter, complete with study and private terrace.
  • 170.5 square metres in central Manchester: for £850,000 you can buy a four-bedroom triplex penthouse apartment with three bathrooms and a balcony.

This gives you a broad view of the price comparisons of property in the UK compared to what you can expect to pay in Hong Kong. If you’re considering making a move but aren’t sure whether the UK is right for you, this article explores alternative locations and looks at eight reasons a change might be a good idea.

Before you commit to making a final decision, it may be a good idea to seek professional advice as moving overseas can affect your tax situation and, in some circumstances, your earning power. And some countries could offer financial advantages you may not have thought of.

At BMP Wealth we specialise in building, managing, and preserving the wealth of Hong Kong’s international community. By creating a personalised, comprehensive financial plan, we can help you realise and achieve your greater goals in life.

For more information, email info@bmpwealth.com or call +852 3975 2878.

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