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City Living Swapped For Surrey Countryside

Posted 27 August 2021 by Helen Christie

With the BNO Visa allowing for a swifter move to the UK, Elise Kong and her husband Ming Wong relocated to Chertsey, Surrey...

Since the launch of the new Hong Kong British National Overseas (BNO) Visa route in January, there have been 34,000 applicants for the scheme – and the Home Office estimates up to 1m could emigrate from Hong Kong.

With the BNO Visa allowing for a swifter move to the UK, Elise Kong, 40, and her husband Ming Wong, 43, relocated to Chertsey, Surrey, this summer with their two children Sean and Stanley. The couple have purchased a four-bedroom detached home at Barratt Homes’ Eldebury Place development.

Elise and Ming decided around a year ago that they wanted to relocate to the UK, and settled on Chertsey as Elise’s cousin moved to the popular Surrey town ten years ago. After researching their options online, Elise and Ming settled on Eldebury Place thanks to its location – close to Outstanding state schools, surrounded by the countryside and only 20 minutes from Heathrow Airport. They sold their three-bedroom country house in Hong Kong and used some of the money to purchase their new home outright.

Elise, who worked as a paediatrician in Hong Kong, comments: “Relocating to the UK was really important for our family, as we want more freedom and a better work-life balance. The process of immigrating to the UK has been very straightforward, made even easier through the BNO Visa route, and we are so excited to start our new life here.

“The priority for us was to have a permanent UK address so that we could settle down sooner and start looking for new jobs alongside applying for schools for our sons. There is a lot of choice in Chertsey and the surrounding area, so we know our sons will have an excellent education. We are looking at state schools currently, as many of the local primary schools are rated Outstanding.”

Alongside the educational opportunities, a further attraction to the UK for Elise and Ming was the difference in property prices. Hong Kong is the most expensive property market in the world, with CBRE estimating that the average property price in Hong Kong is $1.25m – in comparison, the average property price in Chertsey is half of this, at £450,007.

“Hong Kong is very expensive when compared to the UK, which has allowed us to get so much more for our money,” adds Elise. “In our new home, we have a larger garden which is perfect for the children, a friendly neighbourhood, and an incredible amount of open space around us. All of this means that our quality of life will be much better here. We are also mortgage free which helps take some of the pressure off us financially.”

Elise and Ming in Eldebury Place

Kimberley Benson, sales and marketing director for Barratt Southern Counties, comments: “Traditionally, buyers relocating from Hong Kong would look to prime central London for investment properties, typically apartments. Now thanks to the impact of the BNO Visa route, in recent months we have seen an influx in families relocating, therefore creating a greater need for spacious family homes with access to green space and excellent schools.

“The impact of the BNO Visa route is huge, and across our developments in Surrey and Sussex we have seen a rise in the number of buyers relocating from Hong Kong. The Home Counties have long been popular with UK buyers thanks to offering more square footage compared to central London, and access to the outdoors, so it’s unsurprising that Hong Kong families are looking to reap these benefits too.”

Elise and Ming purchased their brand new Barratt Homes property virtually, as strict quarantine restrictions in both Hong Kong and the UK made it impossible to visit.

Elise comments: “Everything had to be arranged online because of quarantine restrictions, so the first time we saw our house was when we arrived in the UK. The sales advisers were very helpful and quick at responding, and we found that the time difference wasn’t an issue at all. We had lots of virtual tours with the sales advisers, and my cousin also visited the development several times to view our home in person, which gave us some extra reassurance.”

“Buying a new build property was appealing to us as we wanted a home that would be ready to move into as soon as we arrived. It will also be very low maintenance overall, which was important to us.”

Eldebury Place is set close to Guildford Street in Chertsey, where residents can find a variety of shops, banks and cafes, alongside a good choice of restaurants and bars. Thorpe Park is also just a short drive away.

Currently available at Eldebury Place is a collection of one- and two-bedroom apartments starting from £269,995, and three- and four-bedroom family homes starting from £544,995.

Find out more about Eldebury Place and the new homes available


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