Exclusive postcode homes for Chinese
The first recorded Chinese person in Britain was Michael Alphonsius Shen Fu-Tsung, who came to the court of King James II, tasked with cataloguing Chinese manuscripts in the world famous Bodleian Library in Oxford. He died in 1691 but it was not until 1855, more than 150 years later, that the very first Chinese student graduated in the UK.
Fast forward to 2012 and Chinese students are now the largest single student group in the UK.
A recent survey indicated that 82 per cent of affluent families in mainland China plan to send their children to study overseas and the UK’s annual share currently stands at about 15. In 2011 more than 90,000 were engaged in some kind of learning experience in the UK.
Alongside this desire to benefit from a glorious British education, there has been a significant appetite by the Chinese to install their children into a brand new apartment. With a currency that has risen sharply against sterling, this could result in an explosion in the number of Chinese families looking for, and being able to afford, a UK education and a London property to go with it.
Given the very limited development in prime central London, many Chinese have looked eastwards to Docklands and Canary Wharf where units can be easily bought off-plan. It is claimed that one in three new build units are sold to the Chinese and the most popular price range is £400,000 to £1m.
However, Chinese appetite for new builds is just the beginning. With their insatiable desire for iconic brand status they are now starting to move to London’s exclusive West End. It is said that where the Chinese buys in London depends on how long they have been wealthy. While the newly rich look in Canary Wharf and Docklands, the second and third generation will look towards locations like Knightsbridge, Mayfair and Kensington.
It is therefore no surprise that LCP, which assists investors and homeowners to buy in the exclusive postcodes around Hyde Park, saw 38 per cent of clients come from China and southeast Asia in 2011. A classic case of East moving West.
London Central Portfolio
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