BTR News Build to Rent (BTR)

Will Asian demand for London’s lettings return to its former glory?

With the real estate market slowed down due to the coronavirus pandemic, many property companies are eager to see what will happen to the markets.

By Shafaq Sobani-Malik, houzen

Will it bounce back? Or are we looking at a further dip? And how long will it take for the market to bounce back? With businesses starting to open up, we’re back to looking at China, and this time, to see what the future holds.

With China getting back on its feet, we investigated what the impact of overseas demand would be. With international travel still restricted and the UK still, albeit slightly relaxed, in lockdown, is the Asian market going to help revive UK’s real estate market. And if so, by who?

Megan Wang, houzen’s market lead currently working out of Beijing is in a constant conversation with 50+ relocation agents in Mainland China. 

“In terms of how many people might actually arrive in the UK later in the year, I see a potential for a spike in the number of international students moving to the UK.

“Some universities lowered their required grades for Chinese applicants, so if the situation with coronavirus gets better soon, we might see an even higher number of incoming students later on”. 

Megan Wang, houzen’s Market Lead, Beijing

British universities continue to attract a large number of Chinese students, and for years many have set their eyes on London, Reading and Manchester as their go-to cities. So the lockdown might delay these plans by a couple of months, but it will not cancel their plans entirely. 

With a life-long dream of studying in the UK, Covid-19 is just a temporary hurdle which shouldn’t impact trends in the long-term. Student accommodations in the UK also provide international students to hold off payments until they obtain their visa. Policies like this provide additional safety for applicants and keep the market running. Build to Rent is usually an accommodation of choice for many of the students who look for a high standard of living – with exceptional safety on top. 

We also spoke to Credo, a leading Chinese relocation agent and asked their views on the outlook of the real estate market. 

“Although we were indeed concerned about Covid-19’s impact on Chinese students and young professional going abroad, once April to May rolled around, it gave us lots of confidence that the demand is still there and even stronger – as for them it’s about international education and a long-term life goal instead of this temporary lockdown situation.

“With positive feedback from our local channels that the number of Chinese who applied for, or have received offers from UK universities has exceeded the same time over the last few years, we believe the renting demand will start to rally later this summer. If the market is so active this year during pandemic time, we could not be more optimistic about the demand from China in the future.”

Credo, Chinese relocation agent

houzen has partnered with Credo for the past year and has helped move in 100+ of their applicant’s to date. With Credo’s expertise, they find that their applicants, “pay much more attention on the modern style of flats and safety of the neighbourhood, including facilities, quality and hassle-free moving-in’s. They prefer some light luxury style”. 

With high quality Build to Rent apartments on houzen’s portfolio, there’s an abundance of choice for applicants. With the doors slowly re-opening, we’re seeing enquiries picking up again and within no time, the market should start returning to a post-Covid normal. 

What do Chinese applicants want from a Build to Rent home?

Houzen’s data from 2019 shows what Chinese applicants prefer from a Build to Rent home, and what they don’t. 

Chinese applicants biggest turn ons - houzen
Chinese applicants biggest turn ons – houzen
Chinese applicants biggest turn offs - houzen
Chinese applicants biggest turn offs – houzen

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