On 25th April 2023, Savills and ADAM Architecture co-hosted a successful panel discussion and networking event on 'China's grand-reopening in 2023: Key trends and predictions of UK luxury property and investment market' at Savills head office in London.
Attended by 40 guests in the UK-Chinese business community, the private event gathered first-hand insights on the subject from leading Chinese industry experts across the real estate agency, architecture, immigration, and legal sectors.
Andrew Hawkins, International Residential Director, Residential Development Sales, Savills started with a welcome speech, highlighting that Savills was one of the first overseas real estate agencies in China, with 19 offices and more than 2000 employees in Mainland China today.
Andrew Hawkins said: “The property industry is an industry of people. Building deep relationships is vital. Our team recently returned from a trip to China, our first in four years and a long-overdue opportunity to reconnect with our clients and partners. At Savills, we are totally committed to deliver exceptional services for our growing Chinese-speaking customers both in China and globally.”
After Andrew Hawkins’ welcome speech, Sally Maier-Yip, Managing Director and Founder, 11K Consulting, moderated a panel discussion on key insights and predictions on the UK luxury property and investment markets in the second half of 2023.
One of the panellists, Robbie Kerr, Director, ADAM Architecture, said: “In the architectural sector, we enjoyed a lot of historic work with clients from China looking to the exciting opportunities here and expect that with the ability to rekindle these connections and meet new clients again this should grow. It will be great to continue the discussions started before lockdowns.”
Kerr said: “From our experience, Chinese property buyers do not just focus on London areas. They are very savvy and opportunistic and recognise there is more to the UK market than just London. They are also interested in areas such as Manchester, if there are some interesting investment opportunities.”
Kerr also highlighted that sustainability and social responsibility are becoming more and more important in their architectural works for Chinese and international clients.
On the other hand, Lili Zhang, Head of Asia Pacific Department, Savills, said that Central London remains a key destination for Chinese and international buyers. “With China reopening and travels getting back to pre-Covid levels, we anticipate an increase in prime and super prime sales.
Zhang predicted: “We expect Prime Central London to be the strongest performing region over the next five years, with total price growth of 13.5%. This will be underpinned by the value on offer and a lack of supply compounded by fewer new build alternatives. For rents in prime London, we expect average increases 5% this year.”
From a legal perspective, Suzanne Low, Senior Associate of Global Asia Team, DKLM, said, “In my opinion, I think Chinese and Hong Kong buyers who are purchasing a property to live in they would prefer living somewhere close to schools with good rating, supermarket, public transport, residential area with low crime rate, and area with good amenities. I came across clients buying in or around London - Colindale, Kidbrooke Village, and Canary Wharf. Outside London I have seen Hong Kong clients purchasing properties in Watford, Bromley and Sutton.”
“For investor buyers, who only look at numbers and figures, they would prefer cities like Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester due to the great rental and capital yields on offer and sought-after universities,” Low commented.
From an international immigration perspective, Yat Wan Yeung, Associate Director of Private Clients, Henley & Partners, pointed out that “the pandemic made many clients realised how mobility is not a given. Many found it difficult to imagine how countries could stop issuing tourist visas or new residence permits when there is a situation, or how individuals could be denied entry into a country unless they are a resident or a citizen – but that is exactly what happened. Ultimately most clients just want to be able to go where they want, when they want. It is important for clients to think ahead and prepare in this volatile world.”
Yeung added: “Real estate is close to many of our clients’ hearts. For the clients to come and gain residence in the UK, most of them came through the UK Investor Visa, which as many of you would know it is no longer available as an option for new clients for now. However, when clients relocate to the UK, they would still buy at least one property, or more often a whole portfolio of properties.”
Overall speaking, the second half of 2023 is set to be very exciting and positive for businesses working with China or with Chinese people, especially in the resilient UK property and investment market, thanks to the UK’s strong rule of law and world-class quality education system.