According to the latest ‘2018 H2 Hong Kong Real Estate Market Outlook’ (hereafter referred to as “the survey”) conducted by REA Group, Hong Kong property prices are still too high despite the current adjustments. 27% of respondents think they will not be able to afford property in their lifetime, causing some to shift their sights overseas, with 14% of respondents considering purchasing overseas property within the next 12 months.

Hosted by REA Group, SMART Investment & International Property Expo (SMART Expo), one of Asia’s largest overseas property and investment display platforms, ushered in its 52nd anniversary in 2018. It was held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center on 24th and 25th November 2018 (Saturday and Sunday) with exhibitors from around the globe. The expo featured properties from more than 15 countries and 25 key cities, including China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cyprus, the UK, Portugal, France, Bulgaria, Australia and Canada. SMART Expo provides investors with access to diverse property market information and updated trends on different types of investment projects.

According to the latest findings from the survey conducted by REA Group, on average, Hong Kong buyers looking overseas will spend HK$3.78 million. The top three overseas countries for property purchases are mainland China (38%), Japan (35%) and Taiwan (19%). Among mainland China, the Greater Bay Area has particularly garnered attention. Almost half of the respondents are interested in properties in the Greater Bay Area for living after retirement (46%), investment (44%), and vacation (27%) purposes. Another 20% and 15% of respondents are respectively considering either living or working there.

Ms Kerry Wong, Chief Executive Officer, Greater China Region, REA Group commented, “As a multinational digital advertising company specialising in property, REA Group has been working hard to optimise the Group’s business to meet the needs of the Hong Kong people. Following the mainland Chinese Government’s announcement of their plan to form an integrated economic and business hub by linking nine cities in the Guangdong province to Hong Kong and Macau, we have seen a big increase in the number of people interested in buying in the Greater Bay Area, as seen in the latest survey results announced on 21st November. Properties and investment opportunities in the Greater Bay Area, such as Zhuhai, Zhongshan and Foshan, are featured in this SMART Expo together with properties in Japan and Taiwan—the 2ndand the 3rd most desirable destinations for overseas properties, according to our survey. A new addition to this Expo is Taiwanese properties, mirroring the investment direction of Hong Kong residents.”

Insights into global property options

Mr. Alex Yeung, Director of Century 21 Culture Center Property Ltd., expressed in the Expo, “A long-term bull market is underway for Japan’s property market, and with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and World Expo 2025 awarded to Osaka, targeting a total of 40 million and 28 million visitors respectively, it is undeniable that the local economy will be revitalised by the tremendous increase in tourist numbers to Japan. Together with its monetary easing policy, the potential net interest rate spread definitely reinforces Japan as one of the most favourable overseas investment destinations for Hongkongers.”

With the key infrastructures including the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link commencing operation recently, the Greater Bay Area is once again in demand for overseas investments. According to Dr. Stephen Shum, Principal Consultant of V+ Property Expo, which offers properties in the Greater Bay Area, “Within the region, Zhongshan has been the most popular among Hongkongers recently due to its proximity and similar culinary culture. Quite a number of investors consider it a retirement destination as well. With the purchase restrictions on property, we also see a tremendous increase in demand for car parking as an alternative investment in the Area.” The overwhelming response from investors regarding such options have once again proved their appetite for alternatives aside from traditional housing.

“Increasing numbers of Hongkongers are looking further afield for opportunities in new markets such as Cambodia,” commented Ms Cecilia Wong, Director of Penta Global Ltd. “In Cambodia, there is no foreign-currency control so purchases can be made in US dollars, and capital from other countries can freely enter and exit—it is very suitable for property investment. The Cambodian economy remains robust as per the latest World Bank Report, and economic growth is projected to be 6.9% in 2018. All these factors are attractive to overseas investors.”

24 property and financial experts analysed the latest property market trends

Over the two-day event, 24 seminars on overseas properties and investments were presented by experts from different fields. Speaker topics included 2019 market outlook by Dr. Jacinto Tong, financial blogger and Vice Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Gale Well Group; formulae for choosing and buying shops by Dr. Edwin Lee, Founder & CEO, Bridgeway Prime Shop Fund Management Limited; identifying the opportune time to buy into the property market by Dr. Lawrance Wong, President of Many Wells Property Agent Ltd; opportunities that the Greater Bay Area development creates for Hong Kong by Buggle Lau, the Chief Analyst of Midland Realty; as well as insights on the right time for investment from King Sir, one of Hong Kong’s first property investment course lecturers and Managing Director of Hong Kong Mortgage Referral. Additionally, investment professionals Joyce Lee, Senior Lecturer of Hong Kong Institute of Economics and Investment, Mr. Alex Wong,

Director of Asset Management, Ample Capital Limited and Mr. Francis Kwok, Managing Director of Freeman Securities, shared tips on building personal wealth.