We take a look at reasons why the Manchester property market is an attractive location for investment and why Hong Kong investors in particular are being drawn to area.
Peter Scully | 18th September 2019
When the going gets tough, the tough work out what they’re going to do about it and in some cases the most pragmatic answer really is just to “get going” to somewhere safer. Many Hong Kong investors seem to have grasped this fact, which is why they are being driven towards the Manchester property market.
Even though there’s an acknowledged shortage of property in the UK, it’s as nothing compared to the situation in Hong Kong, which is not only a tiny island, but also a place where much of the terrain is simply unsuitable for building (at least with the current state of technology).
To this must be added the fact that Hong Kong is (currently) one of the world’s major financial and commercial hubs and therefore has a significant population for a place of its size, and the fact that this population is growing all the time as Hong Kong’s economy continues to power forward.
Looked at in this light, it’s hardly a surprise that research from social policy group Demographia has concluded that Hong Kong is the world’s least affordable property market. In fact, it’s held this unenviable title for the last 9 years.
In comparison with Hong Kong, even London is a relatively affordable housing market, but Manchester is far ahead of them both in its ability to offer all the benefits of a large and modern city at a very reasonable cost - a fact which has not gone unnoticed by investors around the world, especially those from Hong Kong.
Investors from Hong Kong are, by definition, already well used to operating outside the framework of the EU. Therefore, even if they believe that the UK would be better served by remaining within it, they are unlikely to be too concerned about the possibility of a hard Brexit leading to the UK losing access to the single market.
In fact, a hard Brexit might well be of benefit to those who already have experience of operating globally and can leverage it while others are still adapting to the new reality. In this context, it’s worth noting that Manchester already has strong trading links with countries outside the EU, especially those in Asia as is reflected in the fact that its local airport has direct flights to key destinations in the area.
Hong Kong has recently seen mass protests against a proposed extradition bill, which, according to its opponents, could have seen pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong extradited to China on dubious charges at which point it would have been very difficult, if not impossible, to guarantee their safety.
Although this bill has been withdrawn, for the time being, there is widespread concern that the Hong Kong government may keep trying to pass the legislation until it eventually succeeds and that the bill will prove to be the first step in eroding the island’s autonomy.
It is therefore entirely understandable that Hong Kong’s wealthier citizens will want to secure themselves a safe haven (at an attractive price), which can provide them with a place to live if they need it and an investment income if not.
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