UK Buy-to-Let Properties Popular with Investors from China

Investors from China are cashing in on the opportunities provided by a drop in the value of the British pound and increasing yields and rents in the UK buy-to-let market, particularly with student flats. The Chinese student population in the UK has grown by 34% in the last five years and China now sends more students to the UK than any other country in or outside the EU.

Grant Property, leading UK based property investment company, reports a surge of interest from China as new and existing investors are purchasing more buy-to-let properties to add to their portfolios. An increase in rents as high as 15% over the last 12 months alone, combined with steady long-term capital growth (on average 7% per annum) and prices in regional UK cities rising at their fastest rates for 10 years, are factors which are making UK property an appealing investment prospect.

Founder of Grant Property Peter Grant said:
“We are seeing a huge demand from investors from China, some who are looking to buy multiple properties each. In the last year we have sold over £33 million worth of properties to investors and we are currently dealing with 20% more enquiries than this time last year. Investors have seen returns of up to 28% per annum over the last 22 years. From China alone, we have gone from one client to 30 clients in a few years, and we are currently dealing with dozens of enquiries.

“Investors are capitalising on the opportunity to snap up traditional flats in UK cities, particularly where there is a large student population. The focus is on traditional refurbished properties in good city centre locations, not purpose-built blocks on the edge of town, which tend to attract mainly first year students.”

Grant says that students are the key factor :
“Student accommodation is the jewel in the crown for the property investment market. Student accommodation is not subject to the same economic or political influences as the rest of the property market. Even in a recession, occupancy is very high, so rentals are virtually guaranteed. And high demand delivers high yields. UK universities and colleges are very popular with Chinese students, ex pats and UK students alike. Parents are recognising the virtues of buying property for their student son or daughter to offset tax, save on rental outgoings and even generate income from letting out a spare room.

Overseas investors in UK property are now outnumbering UK investors and, according to Grant, that is likely to continue.
“Most of our enquiries are coming from overseas now and that is showing no sign of changing. The latest figures for the Chinese student population in the UK was over 120,000 and that doesn’t even include the number of expats living in China, many of whom want their children to study in the UK. A lot of expats want to invest in property back home to build security for their future. I expect the numbers to continue to grow as the UK’s higher education system carries a lot of prestige in China (and indeed the rest of the world), and students achieve impressive qualifications.”

Grant Property, which sources and manages traditional UK residential properties for investment was set up 22 years ago. The company’s ‘one stop shop’ of finding suitable traditional properties for clients, then purchasing, refurbishing, finding tenants, managing lets, obtaining HMO licences and ensuring compliance with all safety regulations, is unique. Concentrating on ten cities across the UK, particularly those with a high student population, the company focuses on traditional properties in good city centre locations as they combine low risk and high returns.  To date they have helped clients invest in over 2500 properties, and currently let to thousands of students per year. The business has grown mainly through referrals and the company now has clients in over 40 countries around the world.