About 8.3 per cent of Hong Kong people would consider living in Shenzhen if border controls were relaxed, a survey commissioned by property consultant DTZ Debenham Tie Leung has found. Addressing the American Chamber of Commerce yesterday, DTZ research director Alva To said it was not an alarming ratio and the number who would actually move to Shenzhen might be even lower due to social and economic factors. 'A relaxation in border controls will not induce a drastic shift of residential property demand from Hong Kong to Shenzhen,' he said. DTZ's survey polled opinions of 1,084 people on living in Shenzhen. Mr To said the findings showed that 91.7 per cent of respondents would not consider moving to the mainland city. A government survey which interviewed more than 10,000 families found earlier that in the next 10 years about 3.2 per cent of the adult population, or 172,000 people, were likely to move to the mainland on a permanent basis - living there for more than six months a year. Some agents said the trend of Hong Kong people buying flats in mainland cities would continue, suggesting SAR people would buy as many as 20,000 flats in China this year, with Shenzhen the most popular location. Mr To said there were worries SAR property prices would drop significantly as a result of relaxed border controls with Shenzhen where prices were much lower. This prompted thoughts of potential significant price adjustments once travelling time was reduced between the two places. He said there were other key factors affecting people's choices, such as living conditions, social, employment and peer-group considerations. Hong Kong had better medical, educational, legal and welfare systems, and a relatively better air quality, he said. The large temporary population in Shenzhen, coming from northern China, posed a problem to social order. He said that, in the long term, if Shenzhen's conditions improved but Hong Kong remained static or grew at a slower pace, this picture would change. Meanwhile, HSBC Property (Asia) managing director John Arnold said the bank was expanding in Shanghai and moving to rent six commercial floors. Although the bank was establishing back-up offices in the mainland, it would not affect staff in Hong Kong because the whole business was expanding, he said. The situation was that the bank was expanding its back-up office in China, rather than in Hong Kong, he said. Some departments had been moved to HSBC's Guangzhou office, but the staff were redeployed, generating no redundancies. Mr Arnold said China was highly regarded as a site for HSBC's back-up offices, while India also was a suitable location. He said cheaper rent was not the only consideration, saying rents for properties in Tuen Mun and Kowloon Bay also were cheap. Other factors included availability and quality of staff, the legal system and medical arrangements. He said HSBC Property would continue to look at the possibility of outsourcing work to improve efficiency. The company is reported to be considering contracting out its valuation work to external surveyors. Mr Arnold said it had 27 people working in valuation and an overall property team of 195. He said staff affected by outsourcing would be redeployed.