Since 2021, more than 140,000 British National Hong Kongers have applied to emigrate to Britain through the British National Overseas (BN(O)) Route.
As a result, certain areas within Britain have seen a dramatic increase in the number of Hong Kong communities, and the property market has undergone a boom in homes selling well over their asking price.
With new build developments and older housing being snatched up from Hong Kongers abroad & Hong Kongers already here, there has been a dramatic increase in demand for housing in areas like Warrington.
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What is the British National Overseas Visa?
The British National Overseas Visa was announced at the end of January 2021 by the British Government, which would allow anyone from Hong Kong who has a British Nationality & their immediate family to travel, live and work in the UK.
The British National Overseas Visa was made available to an estimated 2.9 million Hong Kongers and their families. The people who undertook this 6,000-mile journey would be granted an initial 30 months, with a chance of extending the visa for another 30 months.
The British National Overseas Visa was launched as a bespoke immigration route for Overseas British Nationals and their family members after the Chinese evoked the National Security Law. The combination of Britain’s history with Hong Kong and the National Security Law dramatically threatened the lives and freedom of many Hong Kongers – the BN (O) would allow Hong Kongers to thrive in the UK for five years.
How Has The Hong Kong To UK Emigration Impacted The Housing Market?
The British National Overseas Route has allowed Hong Kongers to emigrate to the United Kingdom in one of the largest emigrations this side of the twenty-first century. The Government is supporting forty-three local organisations to meet the needs of the incoming migrants and help them settle safely within the UK.
Around fifty per cent of Hong Kongers emigrating to the UK have children at school age, and over seventy per cent have a degree/master’s. The top five locations chosen (outside of London) to live, study and work for the Hong Kongers in the UK are:
Over two thousand Hong Kongers have emigrated to Warrington since January 2021, and with them, they have brought on average £600,000-£800,000. Warrington is located just 16 miles west of Manchester and is in the commuter belt. This injection into the local property market has created quite the property phenomenon as Hong Kongers look for community and wish to live in similar areas.
With certain new build developments within the WA4 postcode, there has been a rush from foreign buyers and British Overseas Nationals to purchase these properties — with some paying £30,000 to £40,000 over the asking price to live in these Hong Kong-orientated areas.
According to the data pulled from Rightmove Market Trends, there was a notable increase in houses sold in June 2021, with the average price of homes sold at £368,684, which is £45,949 more than June 2020 and £95,593 more than June 2019.
According to the Briefing on Housing Situations for BNOs, the data correlates positively with how long someone would take to pack up their home and make plans to move across the world. When the Hong Kongers first arrived in the UK, they stayed with friends and family and rented AirBnBs until they found more permanent homes via rental housing, online property portals (Rightmove & Zoopla) and local property agencies.
People emigrating from Hong Kong chose Warrington as a desired destination due to lower than average costs, its employment opportunities, availability of school places, safety and crime rates, its existing demographic and property developer track records.
Warrington is much more financially desirable than most places surrounding Manchester as rent prices in Warrington are 35.21% lower than in Manchester —- and the price per square metre to buy an apartment in the town/city centre in Warrington is 51.93% lower than in Manchester. Some entrepreneurs like Matthew Tse have even set up Cantonese-speaking property companies to aid Hong Kongers in buying homes within Warrington.
We spoke to Karl McArdle, one of the CEOs of The Property Buying Company, about how he thinks the fluctuation of migrants will affect the UK housing market.
Mr McArdle explained, “Personally, I think the fluctuation of Hong Kong BNOs will benefit growth and existing communities in areas like Warrington. There is already evidence that they are driving up the house prices in these areas, helping with local businesses and spending money on tradespeople which is growing both the local & Hong Kong communities.”
He said, “I think anything that will help boost the property market is great, especially if it’s helping out an ex-British colony which has been facing harsh times.”