How the Chinese are looking at UK property post-lockdown | Catharine Che

Catharine Che| 车倩毓 Head of China Region

Regarding the effects of the Covid-19 Lockdown on incoming post-secondary student activity from China to the UK, existing students are making-do with online classes but have expressed missing out on the quality and efficiency of classroom teaching, in particular face to face communication with teachers and classmates. We are receiving questions about whether Chinese families will continue to send their children to the UK for education – and the answer is YES. However, it is too soon to tell the quantity.

In the short term, Coronavirus may have dampened our will to travel worldwide, and we do expect a certain reluctance to take long-haul flights. The English may fear going to the country of origin, and the Chinese may fear coming to the European hotspot where we are still in the throes of battling the virus. In the long term, there are other socio-economic and political factors at play. However, we are seeing a particularly swelling level of enquiries from Hong Kong looking at the UK as a potential “safe-haven” with the political uncertainties and the welcoming gesture made by Boris Johnson on the promises of citizenship.

For those students and families looking to emigrate out of China, achieving an education in the UK is still a desirable and valuable option. However; if we are considering Hong Kong’s situation with respect to political changes enforced by China, we may see a new wave of immigration via education.

From the Chinese perspective, UK has performed incredibly well to offer support during the lockdown and their prevention methods were also successful in flattening the curve. So will we see more Chinese students arriving to the UK post-Coronavirus any time soon? It might be a while.

Our China Desk has made a significant sale of £12 million over the lockdown period, and have continued to make strides with closing property investment deals where virtual viewings were sufficient to satisfy investor needs. While we know the bigger investors have been relatively minimally impacted, the investors with a more modest budget will wait to hedge their bets till the time they can fly over to view in person. We continue to provide a wealth of information, promoting our virtual viewings and virtual reality options to Chinese enquiries coming in from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and Vancouver; thus they gain a UK Sotheby’s International Realty education in UK real estate for both clients and buyers without the classroom setting.

London Dock, London


2 Bedrooms

Surrounded by a rewarding mix of modern style and iconic history, London Dock is situated in the heart of the capital, moments from Tower Bridge, The Tower of London, St Katharine Docks and the City. With a number of London underground and Docklands Light Railway stations within walking distance, London Dock offers quick and easy access to London’s main financial centres of the City and Canary Wharf, as well as the exciting cultural and creative neighbourhoods of Shoreditch, Whitechapel and Bermondsey.

Wapping is a truly authentic destination, filled with independent cafés and restaurants, which has for hundreds of years been a vibrant part of London life. The Prospect of Whitby – London’s oldest riverside pub – was popular with Charles Dickens, diarist Samuel Pepys and renowned artists Turner and Whistler. By the river, Hermitage Community Moorings attracts sailing barges, tugs and small boats, keeping alive Wapping’s river heritage.

Properties with Video Tours

The Tower, St Georges Wharf, London, SW8

3 Bedrooms | 2 Bathrooms | 1,252 Sq. Ft.

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Romney Street, Westminster , London, SW1P

3 Bedrooms | 2 Bathrooms | 1,252 Sq. Ft.

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London Update | Dollar and RMB buyers driving investment to London

Lillie Square, Earls Court – from £835,000

The Summer season is upon us, and whilst London has many visitors from around the globe visiting the numerous attractions London has to offer, it is also well known that these visitors often combine their trips with the possibility of investment into real estate. Throughout the course of the year we have been reporting that Dollar and RMB buyers have been the driving factor behind investment into London and this continues to be the case in the main. However, we have seen interest increasing in the Super Prime levels, with more registered buyers with £20m+ looking for good homes for their families. The unrest and current situation in Hong Kong, has also seen a spike in the number of enquiries coming through for both “end users” and investors, the contributing factor being that London is viewed as a safe haven for investment in property in the longer term. The infrastructure of London’s legal and financial districts coupled with the leading city for education in the world offers investors comfort in acquiring property on a buy-to-let basis, with future capital growth potential.

Guy Bradshaw
Director, Head of London Residential

Uptake in activity from the Middle East

With summer upon us, there will be an uptake in activity from the Middle East as investors escape the dry Arabian heat and kick off the holiday season in the capital. Eid al-Fitr is one of the main Muslim holidays which means “festival of breaking the fast” and marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. As per Eid traditions, people tend to gift family members and friends making this holiday one of the busiest seasons for retailers revelling the spirit of the Muslim holiday. There are parallels that can be drawn from the retail activity into the property market through holiday rentals and short lets which consist of stays from between one night to less than 6 months. We have agreed holiday rental offers from £800 per week to £18,000 per week for the summer. At UK Sotheby’s International Realty, we have a plethora of houses, apartments, serviced apartments and preferential rates with hotels in London and around the world, throughout the year.

As for the residential investment market, we have had a stellar start to the summer with three successful completions with a market value over £11,500,000 and the highest value unit sold yet, in an exclusive Covent Garden development just dubbed as ‘Best London Home 2019’ by the Evening Standard New Homes Award. We also successfully rented one of our buyer’s penthouse apartment in time for completion of their purchase whilst achieving a vacancy period of less than 1 week, an excellent result for a highly valued client!

The continued uncertainty surrounding Brexit has continued to reflect on the correction in pricing, creating opportunities for buyers willing to take advantage of the “weaker” £ / sterling relative to $U.S. In addition, the current geopolitical environment in the Middle East continues to reaffirm the UK’s status as a global safe haven.

Mohamed Zaghloul
Head of Middle East Desk