Maybe it’s house price inflation in their own country that is driving Chinese property investors to the UK.
Even if they don’t find a bargain, house prices here certainly won’t frighten them.
In China, where property investment is the national pastime of choice – partly because there are so few other investment options – house prices have bounced up around 15% over the last year.
That is despite the fact that the authorities there have been doing their best to stop house price inflation – for example, by banning mortgages from people who want to buy more than two homes, or stopping single people from having more than one house.
With talk of a Chinese house price bubble (sounds familiar?) Chinese investors have been busy focusing on the UK.
According to the website Juwai (a Rightmove portal for Chinese purchasers looking for overseas property) Chinese investor activity in London has jumped 175% so far this year.
The most searched part of London in August was Chelsea, with Kensington a close second.
However, it’s not all about London: the site reports that many Chinese investors are looking at other cities and in a variety of price ranges. Chinese investor activity in Manchester is up 460% so far this year.
However, the peak of the Chinese property buying season has not yet happened. Golden Week is next week – the first week in October – when most of China enjoys a prolonged national holiday.
Increasing numbers use it to do some property hunting overseas. An estimated 60 million Chinese people have the money to invest in overseas property.
This year as a whole, 94 million Chinese people will travel internationally, according to China’s National Tourism Administration – a figure that is remarkable, since the Chinese have only been able to travel overseas as tourists since 1991.
An estimated 200 million will be travelling abroad by 2020.
Reasons for investing in UK real estate include lifestyle, to buy a place for children being educated here, and for a safe investment.