Asian investors eye new homes in UK regional cities, says agent

Posted 4 October 2013 by Keith Osborne

In recent years, Asian investors have been among the leading overseas buyers helping to drive sales in the London new-build market, contributing significantly to the post-crash market recovery and helping developers fund the building of new homes in the process. But now there are growing signs that some Asian investors are looking at property investment opportunities beyond the capital city, according to one leading estate agent.

"Although London remains their main focus, there are tentative indications that they are beginning to become interested in UK regional cities," says Robert Fraser is founder and managing director of Fraser & Co, a London-focused estate agent who holds regular new-build residential property exhibitions in Asia. "To successfully sell to Asian buyers, developers need to make sure they sell the right product in the right way."

Around one in five buyers of new homes in central London are from Singapore and 16% are from Hong Kong. Attracting them is a combination of London's perception as a safe haven with its political stability, global city status, highly ranked educational institutions and quality of life. Furthermore, and of major importance, is the pound's drop in value against strong Asian currencies, making property a relative bargain compared to international competitors.

But with UK property market conditions rapidly improving, it would appear that more Asian investors, particularly those from China, have now turned their attentions to buying new homes in various regional cities, and not just London.

Fraser continues: "Chinese homebuyer activity has increased dramatically in Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham and Oxford, according to a Chinese international website. Yet, this interest outside the UK's capital has not yet translated into sales.

"In terms of product, Asian buyers find new-build properties significantly more attractive, as maintenance for these tends to be very low, finishes tend to be highly specified and additional services such as concierges, security and on-site bars and restaurants make these properties ideal for short stays. They also prefer smaller units, studios or one-bedroom apartments, as the yields tend to be greater."



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