Richard Warren

Chinese investors, including some from Hong Kong, have bought property near drilling rigs in the northern United States to share in the country's oil boom.

Fewer British housing developments may be marketed in Hong Kong in coming years, because growing numbers of Britons are buying off-plan, according to economists and developers.

Guy Meacock, director at buyers' agency Prime Purchase, has helped a Chinese businesswoman buy seven central London properties. She has bought multimillion-pound flats with two or three bedrooms in London's most expensive boroughs - Westminster, and Kensington and Chelsea.

Hong Kong investor interest in Britain's regions has grown since 2008. According to property consultancy Savills, 38 per cent of their Hong Kong buyers in the re-sales market have bought property outside London over the past five years.

The British Parliament's Communities and Local Government Committee wants the government to make 47 changes to the way the country's private lettings sector operates.

Hong Kong owners of British property may find their costs rising following changes to local government charges which came into force last week. The charges, known as Council Tax, will be levied on all empty properties, including vacant rental homes. Occupied abodes will remain taxable in the same way as before.

Located in purpose-built blocks or converted buildings, student studio apartments can be purchased for less than £50,000 (HK$586,000), making them less costly to buy than most mainstream British homes.