On 31 January 2021, the United Kingdom (UK) Government officially introduced a new immigration route for British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) status holders from Hong Kong, providing the opportunity for them and their family members to live, work and study in the UK.
As per the UK government given data, until the ending March of 2022, there were totally 19,500 applications for the BN(O) route in first quarter of 2022, with 18,563 out of country applications, and 900 in country applications. Of the total, 11,500 applications relate to main applicants and 8,000 relate to dependants.
The UK government also confirmed that there have been a total of 123,400 applications for the BN(O) route since its introduction from 31st January 2021 until the end of March 2022. As per the forecast, the majority of the grants, ie, a total of 65%, were to BN(O) and/or Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) passport holders. Dependants holding passports for countries other than BN(O) and/or HKSAR accounted for 76% of grants to dependants, including 74% who held Chinese passports.
In such lights, it is expected the continuous arrival of Hong Kong BN(O) holders to UK will surely boost the demand for owning and renting of properties in UK. Among the different regions and cities, there are of course some which are relatively popular and appealing to the Hong Kongers if they are choosing to buy a home. Below we will take a look at the regions and cities that that attract them.
As the social and economic centre and the capital city in UK, London is with the best transportation and supporting facilities. So it is the number one choice for Hong Kong people to live in and buy property with. London has a high population density, and has a railway network with a history of more than 100 years. It is just as famous as Hong Kong in terms of financial and commercial activities. London’s history and culture are well preserved and it can be easily seen from its ancient buildings everywhere in the city.
However, property prices in London, akin to Hong Kong, are notoriously expensive. As of March 2022, the average property price in London has reached 523,000 pounds (about HK$5,230,000), which is similar to that of Hong Kong, and the supply is basically very limited. Generally speaking, Hong Kong people who are planning to come and stay in London will mostly choose to buy or rent property in Zone 3 or further because the property price is considered to be relatively affordable and reasonable for them.
Manchester is one of the most popular areas for immigrants from Hong Kong in recent years. Due to many of the financial companies rushing in, the employment opportunities in Manchester have been increased.
Moreover, the two internationally famous Premier League football clubs, namely, the Manchester United and Manchester City football clubs, are there. There will never be any boring weekends as it attracts fans locally, nationally and globally and benefit the city’s economy with tourists’ activities. Manchester also has a historic institution, the University of Manchester, being well known for ground-breaking and discoveries and high-quality researches. Therefore, for recent years, the city attracts many young people and student tenants to choose to move here.
In terms of property prices, the average property price in Manchester is a mere 50% of that to London, reaching 240,000 pounds (about HK$2,400,000). To Hong Kong people, the property price of Manchester is considered very attractive and very much affordable. They like to choose properties close to Piccadilly Railway Station as it is convenient for them to travel between Manchester and London.
Liverpool is also one of the popular cities for Hong Kong people to live in. Just a 35 miles or 40 minutes driving time to the Manchester, Liverpool is well known as the birthplace of the Liverpool Football Club and the Beatles. The city centre of Liverpool, which is built around the wharf, has a convenient transportation network and can be reached by train in about 3 hours from London.
Furthermore, as the administration of Liverpool is spending huge sums of money on large-scale reconstruction projects, there is a certain appreciation potential for buying a property. The city has become one of the hottest spots for Hong Kong people to own and invest into real estate market.
Among many other UK cities, the property price in Liverpool is relatively low. The average property price is only about 190,000 pounds (about HK$1,900,000). This makes the city properties very affordable and lucrative to Hong Kong buyers and investors. And they usually choose the property near Albert Dock to John Lennon Airport as the transportation will be more convenient for them to travel locally or internationally.
Birmingham is the major city in England’s West Midlands region as well as the second largest city in the UK (the largest one is of course London). And it only takes about 2 hours to drive from London to there. For years, Birmingham has always been one of the most popular cities for Hong Kong people to live in and buy for properties. The city has the mixed vibes of arts, culture and nightlife that attracts lots of Hong Kong people.
The average property price in Birmingham is quite the same as compared to Manchester, lingering around 230,000 pounds (about HK$2,300,000), but it is also less than half the average property price in London.
In addition to the street news of the Leicester City Football Club, the city’s property price increase has been among the best in the UK in recent years, and it is a hot spot for new inhabitants and immigrants.
Leicester has the first-class classical culture and art atmosphere in UK. Also, the Leicester University is one of the famous universities in the UK which draws lots of students locally and internationally.
With the surge in demand for buying and renting properties, the average property price in Leicester City has climbed to more than £250,000 (approximately HK$2,500,000) at the first quarter of 2022, on par with Manchester and Birmingham.
Some Hong Kong people may not like the relatively pressured and fast-paced city life and thus, Edinburgh in Scotland has become a good alternative for them. Very similar to London and Hong Kong, Edinburgh’s financial services industry has been famous and continue to boom. With the recent years of the new development of transportation and other facilities, the city has been benefitted a lot.
Although Edinburgh is in the Northern part of UK, the average property price in Edinburgh has risen to surpass most of the major cities in England by reaching nearly 320,000 pounds (about HK$3,200,000) by the early 2022.