Hongkongers Moving to U.K. May Sell $19 Billion of Homes
People look at Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong. (Photographer: Lam Yik/Bloomberg)

Hongkongers Moving to U.K. May Sell $19 Billion of Homes


Hong Kong homeowners may sell as much as HK$150 billion ($19.3 billion) worth of property this year when residents emigrate to the U.K.

The city may see about 13,100 to 16,300 households move to the U.K. via their British National (Overseas) visas in 2021, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Patrick Wong said in a report on Tuesday. The number represents 0.9% to 1.1% of households living in privately owned homes.

If all of them sell their properties to fund their move and living costs, they could generate a maximum of HK$150 billion in 2021 alone, Bloomberg estimates show.

The U.K. government’s plan to make it easier for Hong Kong residents with BN(O) status to obtain citizenship is prompting a migration and rise in home offers. Property listings at Centaline, Hong Kong’s largest real estate agency, surged by 44% from a year earlier to more than 40,000 homes.

That’s not to say Hong Kong’s property market will fall into an abyss anytime soon. Buyers, including from mainland China, are absorbing the increased supply in the market. As an indicator of robust market activities, used-home-sale value in April is on track to hit a 23-year high at HK$50 billion, according to Centaline.

Hongkongers Moving to U.K. May Sell $19 Billion of Homes
Read more Bloomberg Intelligence research on the subject

H.K. BNO Exodus May Spur HK$150 Billion Outflow From Home Sales

About 1% of Private Households May Leave

Outflow From Home Sales May Hit HK$150 Billion

More Disposals Boost Secondary Home Sales

Prices in the city remain resilient, with current values just 5.4% lower than the historical peak set in mid-2019. Mortgage rates also dropped to the lowest in more than a decade, boosting the appetite of home buyers. Bloomberg Intelligence predicts used-home prices will grow 5% to 10% this year.

More mainlanders are joining Hong Kong’s residential market, accounting for 11% of purchases in the first quarter, up from 8.7% three quarters earlier, according to Midland Realty.

Wealthy Hong Kong buyers are looking to snap up homes in the U.K. They quadrupled their proportion of home purchases in London’s most expensive areas over 2020, according to agency Hamptons International, accounting for 8% of luxury homes bought last year.

More than 35,000 eligible Hong Kongers have applied for the BN(O) program, The Times reported earlier this month.

Those Hong Kong residents who are seeking to invest in the U.K. may face fierce competition. Lifestyle changes during the pandemic and a tax break on home purchases have pushed U.K.’s property market to new heights this year, with the proportion of homes available to buy at its lowest, according to property website Rightmove.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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