Increasing Presence Of Mainland Chinese Buyers Indicates Growing Clout Of This Group In Hong Kong
It’s perhaps no big surprise that mainland Chinese property buyers have snapped up real estate in neighboring Hong Kong, since closer economic ties have blurred the border (financially) since 1997. Now, thousands of businesspeople regularly make the Shenzhen/Zhuhai-Hong Kong commute, and well-heeled mainland shoppers — nicknamed hao ke — often pop over the border for luxury shopping sprees.
Reflecting the growing clout of wealthy mainland Chinese in Hong Kong, figures released this week by Centaline Property Agency indicated that mainland property buyers comprised 18.1% of luxury apartment buyers in 2009, compared to only 11.2% in 2008. According to Wong Leung-shing, an associate director of research at Centaline, this is the fastest rate of growth among mainland buyers of HK luxury apartments (costing at least HK$10 million (US$1.29 million)) in six years.
From the South China Morning Post:
“From 2004 to 2008, mainland buyers grew only one to two per cent a year, but the growth was steady,” Wong said. “The substantial increase in 2009 was due to the sharp fall in luxury property prices.”
Prices of luxury properties in Hong Kong plunged 40 to 50 per cent after the global financial crisis began in September 2008. “This attracted rich people from the mainland, as they caught the best time to buy. Prices of luxury properties have since surged 50 per cent to 70 per cent from the bottom and have generated attractive profit,” Wong said.
In the overall property market, including mass residential properties, only 5.6 per cent of the buyers came from the mainland last year, compared with 4.3 per cent in 2008.
Alva To Yu-hung, the head of consulting, North Asia, at DTZ, said the loose monetary policy on the mainland was another factor contributing to the influx of mainland buyers last year. However, he expects the number of mainland buyers to drop this year as the central government tightens its monetary policies.
The mainland appetite for luxury real estate in Hong Kong was evidenced by the sales at The Cullinan at Kowloon Station last year. The upmarket project attracted the highest proportion of mainland buyers among new projects in the city.
Property agents said about 10 per cent of buyers at the project held Chinese passports, while a further 20 per cent held Hong Kong identity cards with Putonghua (Mandarin – JD) phonetic transcriptions.