London property does not get vote of Hong Kong investors after election shock

Uncertainty arising from hung parliament adds to fears over terrorism and crucial Brexit talks

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 June, 2017, 11:38pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 June, 2017, 11:38pm

Uncertainty arising from the British general election appears to have rubbed off on Hong Kong property investors.

Fewer people than expected turned up on Saturday for the first London property exhibition held in Hong Kong since the election on Thursday, which saw the Conservative Party of Prime Minister Theresa May lose its parliamentary majority with crucial Brexit talks just around the corner.

The election came days after eight people were killed and 48 wounded in a terrorist attack on London Bridge and a nearby nightlife area last weekend. Three suspects were shot dead by police.

On May 22 a suicide bomber killed 22 in Manchester Arena following a concert by US singer Ariana Grande.

“It is very quiet. For now, most people like me may just want to wait until the dust settles a bit ­before making a decision,” said teacher David Lam, who visited the Hong Kong exhibition for Lyon Square in Harrow, London, by homebuilder Redrow.

“You get the terror attacks, you get the Brexit and now you get the election result,” he said.

“All these add to my concerns over the future of the property market there.”

Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and a former residential chairman for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said: “A hung parliament will result in an extended period of uncertainty with decision-making kicked into the long grass.

“Theresa May is correct, we need a period of stability as that will quash uncertainty, but it is not clear at the moment whether she can deliver it.”

Lam said he also held off ­on making a decision over whether to buy property in the hope that the pound would fall further amid the recent shock waves.

Britain has attracted waves of tourists and property investors from overseas keen to take advantage of the weaker pound since Brexit, the country’s decision to leave the European Union.

But Mandy Wong, head of international residential property services at JLL, shrugged off ­concerns and said the chilling ­effect of the election result was bound to be a short-lived one.

“There is a shortage of supply in Britain’s property market, and recent jobless figures signalled a better economic outlook for the country,”she said.

“These fundamentals will continue to support the price of housing.”