5 Top Destinations For A Second Property In 2018

Wealth

November 13, 2017 | BY Richard Lord

The number of Hongkongers buying overseas second properties is growing, and the reason is pretty obvious: literally everywhere is cheaper than here. This, according to Mandy Wong, Hong Kong head of international residential property sales for real estate giant Jones Lang LaSalle, is a trend that’s set to continue.

“Local prices keep going up and up and up, and it inevitably pushes a lot of buyers outside Hong Kong as an investment tool. Hong Kong people like property assets, and they are adventurous in where they’ll invest and happy to look at all options; they’re prepared to go anywhere as long as it makes money.”

Of course, even if investment remains the principal reason for buying overseas property, it often overlaps with personal use, most commonly when homes are bought for children studying overseas. So mature, high-cost markets with top English-speaking universities—the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and so on—remain popular.

But a lot of Hongkongers are looking to get a better bang for their buck, and potentially more upside to their investment, elsewhere. Here are five top spots to invest in a second property for 2018:

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Bangkok

“We’re still seeing many investors who are happy to look into the Bangkok market,” says Wong. The main reason, she adds, is the value it offers—“the lower lump sum they need to put up at the beginning. Hong Kong people are familiar with Bangkok, and feel like it’s safe, but they also feel like it’s an up-and-coming area with potential.”

She sees the Bangkok market continuing to rise in the long term, as the government further relaxes the legal requirements regarding foreign property ownership.

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5 Top Destinations For A Second Property In 2018
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Japan

Japan, after many years in the doldrums, is becoming a property investment option again. “Since the bubble burst the market hasn’t been moving, but now, with more investment in infrastructure and regeneration, it’s moving quite a bit,” says Wong.

And it’s not just Tokyo: Osaka is also popular, as is Fukuoka. Kyushu island’s biggest city might seem like an unusual choice, but its seaside location and winning combination of ancient and modern and making it an increasingly popular option with lifestyle-conscious younger Japanese.

“It’s popular with investors chasing a higher-yield option,” says Wong. “It has a vibrant market. The city has a strong economy, but property prices aren’t yet feeling the upside like, for example, in Tokyo.”

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Berlin

The ongoing strength of German economy makes Berlin an increasingly popular choice. Plus prices, although rising fast, are still not excessive.

“Buyers are very into the story—the transformation of the city, its diversity, its youth, and the amount of creative business going on there,” says Wong.

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Montreal

With a market nowhere near as overheated as Vancouver, more Hongkongers are looking to Montreal. It helps that McGill University is attracting more and more Hong Kong students—and that, for those who want to use their property as a second home, Quebec offers more generous visa terms than British Columbia.

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Ho Chi Minh City

Attracting increasing attention but still not at the top of most people’s lists, Ho Chi Minh City offers Hongkongers low prices and a reasonably familiar market. Restrictions on ownership and the complete unavailability of financing for foreign buyers, however, are hindrances.

“That said, at the present time it’s attracting more mature investors,” says Wong. “Later on, if things change like the ownership rules, it could attract more mass-market buyers.”

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