The UK property market will remain popular with Chinese investors despite Covid and Brexit, according to the UK Chinese Landlords Alliance.
It’s confident that the Chinese community will continue to see buy-to-let as a relatively safe investment and, as they work and save hard, they’ll still have the necessary capital to buy a wide range of properties around the UK.
Junhua Zhu, the Bromley-based founder and chairman, tells LandlordZONE that the Chinese community are mainly anti-Brexit, after experiencing divisions and civil wars in their own country.
“There was a drop in interest after the vote because overseas investors were nervous and most are still concerned about how it will work, but I believe confidence will return in the next few years,” says Zhu.
Zhu first started sharing his experience of building up a property portfolio in the UK on WeChat, the Chinese multi-purpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app.
“My popularity grew as people realised I knew what I was talking about,” he explains. “I then started my own group which grew really fast and I now run seven groups with between 2,000 and 3,000 people following me.”
About 80% of members are based in the UK, with the rest mainly in China and Malaysia – almost all are ethnic Chinese.
Those based overseas or who are less confident tend to invest in modern blocks and use agencies to manage properties, says Zhu, while those working here buy larger houses that generate more income.
He recognises that as English isn’t their first-language, it can be hard for some to navigate the buy-to-let process, and as flats are the norm in China, he gives potential investors insight when they’re looking to buy larger houses.
As relationships in the alliance have formed, some members now make joint investments, and as its profile has grown, property developers regularly approach it to discuss possible opportunities. “As the economy isn’t going to rocket soon, after Covid, property in the UK is a safe investment,” he adds. “As we don’t see interest rates going up, even if the market doesn’t boom, our costs are under control.”