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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Business
HK investors snap up London skyscrapers despite Brexit
    2017-August-22  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

CHINESE investment in London commercial property has more than trebled since Britain voted to leave the European Union, most of it channelled through Hong Kong.

While others have pulled back from British property following last year’s Brexit referendum, investors largely from Hong Kong are snapping up the British capital’s best-known skyscrapers including the “Cheesegrater” and “Walkie Talkie.”

In the first six months of 2017, Chinese investors spent 3.96 billion pounds (US$5.10 billion) on London commercial property according to data from the CBRE real estate group, the highest amount on record and outpacing the 2.69 billion pounds spent in the whole of 2016.

Hong Kong accounted for 92 percent of the Chinese investment, according to the Knight Frank agency. Hong Kong food conglomerate Lee Kum Kee is set to pay 1.28 billion pounds later this month for 20 Fenchurch Street — the 34-story skyscraper known as the Walkie Talkie — a record for an office building in Britain.

With government crackdown on foreign deals by mainland companies, investors there are instead using Hong Kong as a conduit for overseas deals. However, Hong Kong-based investors are more significant players.

“Deals from the mainland already make up a smaller proportion of the activity from the region, with Hong Kong investors most active,” said Anthony Duggan, head of capital markets research at Knight Frank. “We expect that Chinese investors will still look to make strategic real estate purchases that fit within their business plans.”

Several factors are drawing the investment, including sterling’s 12 percent drop since the Brexit referendum against the U.S. dollar — to which the Hong Kong dollar is pegged.

“Cheaper money, the rule of law, cultural familiarity and a need to diversify out of a home market is what’s driving Hong Kong demand in the United Kingdom,” said James Beckham, head of central London investment at property consultant Cushman & Wakefield, which advised the Walkie Talkie’s buyers and Cheesegrater’s sellers.

Record Hong Kong commercial and residential property prices are also pushing investors to turn to overseas markets where rental yields are higher.

Real estate sources said other City of London landmarks, including 30 St Mary Axe — known as the Gherkin — and the Heron Tower are also attracting interest from Hong Kong investors. These prime “trophy” assets, like the Cheesegrater and Walkie Talkie, have well-known tenants and are in limited supply.

Capital from China and Hong Kong has accounted for a third of all investment in London commercial real estate this year, up from less than 10 percent before the referendum, according to CBRE. (SD-Agencies)

 

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