As protests rage on, Hong Kong’s elite scope out $20M houses abroad

Protesters in Hong Kong (Credit: Getty Images)

Protesters in Hong Kong (Credit: Getty Images)

Hong Kong residents and investors are buying property in neighboring Asian states, Australia, and North America to get away from the financial hub’s prolonged unrest and uncertain political future.

Brokers in Singapore, Japan, Australia, and the United States have seen an uptick in interest from Hong Kong-based buyers over the past several weeks, according to Bloomberg.

Hongkongers are regular customers in many of those markets, but the tone of inquiries has shifted. In the past, most Hong Kong-based buyers were interested in homes and condominiums as investment properties. More prospective buyers are looking to live in those units.

“Normally in Hong Kong we have people talking about yields and what rentals can be achieved,” CBRE’s Australia residential director Colin Griffin said. “Now people are talking more about schooling, where their children can stay, how far properties are from transport and travel times to the city.”

CBRE is now marketing a group of high-end properties in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and other key Australian markets as “The Penthouse Collection” aimed at Hong Kong- and mainland China-based buyers. The properties asking prices average around $14 million and some ask more than $20 million. The majority of buyers are looking for homes at lower price points — under $1 million or $2 million — in Australia, western Canada, Malaysia, and Taiwan.

Vancouver-based CBRE broker David Ho said he meets many young families in Hong Kong who want to learn about immigration and education opportunities, along with the ins-and-outs of homebuying in Canada.

Not all are pulling the trigger, though. Savills Plc.’s Mark Elliot said the number of transactions and people taking money out of Kong Kong is similar to levels last year.

According to Knight Frank, the luxury market in Hong Kong is projected to drop 2 percent in 2020. “Real estate buyers look for a stable political system, and they’re not finding that right now in Hong Kong,” Sotheby’s International Realty CEO Philip White told Bloomberg. [Bloomberg]Dennis Lynch

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