Weaker pound proves a draw for Hongkongers buying UK homes, though stricter energy saving requirements may drive up costs
- UK-based developers are ramping up sales launches and marketing promotions in Hong Kong
- A potential change in energy requirements for buildings could cost homebuyers more in the long run, law firm warns
But a law firm has warned that a potential change in energy requirements for buildings could cost homebuyers more in the long run.
“Hong Kong buyers are able to buy at a huge discount right now and developers have noticed,” said Eli McGeever, a director at property research company One Global Labs. “There have been several new launches recently and developers are looking to take advantage of the currency play.”
The cost of buying a home in London is “now 9.4 per cent lower than this time a year ago”, according to Marcus Dixson, director of UK residential research at JLL.
On Thursday, London Square opened a 2,770 square-foot office in One Exchange Square in Central, which will serve as its international headquarters and showroom for its residential projects in the British capital. The developer’s sales campaigns, however, will be handled by a partner property agency in Hong Kong.
“Hong Kong buyers are important to us,” said McDonagh. “So this office was opened to sell properties and also to be able to show customers our product to help them make their choices.”
“I think [the weaker pound], it’s definitely a factor,” Minegishi said. “I wouldn’t say it’s the main reason. I think a lot of Hong Kong people look at London because they like London, they believe there’s good education for their children.”
London Square is presently marketing two projects in Hong Kong – London Square Nine Elms and London Square Croydon, where prices start from £599, 500 (US$675,133) and £325,000, respectively.
So far 160, or 65 per cent, of the units have been taken by buyers globally, a spokesman said, without disclosing the proportion of buyers from Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, potential investors and buyers have been warned about the government’s proposal to make homes across the UK more energy efficient.
Improvements in the energy performance certificates (EPC) of homes are planned as a part of the UK’s target to become net-zero for greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, said Simon Green, head of real estate and hotels and hospitality in Asia and the Middle East at law firm Charles Russell Speechlys.
“With the implementation of the current regulations in April 2020 requiring minimum EPC ratings of band E for residential tenancies, the further increase in minimum EPC ratings to C is likely to be the direction the government is moving in,” said Green. “With the increase in energy prices in 2022, this will be something for buyers and homeowners to consider.”
Under current laws, those who fail to comply with the minimum EPC rating could face a fine of up to £5,000, Green said.