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Hong Kong homeowners look to sell as emigration demand rises

[HONG KONG] Hong Kong is seeing a surge in home listings as the recession and a security crackdown by China prompt more residents to sell their properties.

Listings at Centaline Property Agency, the city's largest realtor, have jumped 44 per cent from a year ago to more than 26,000, the company said.

Many Hong Kong residents are looking to leave the financial hub amid escalating political tensions over China's new national security law. Rising unemployment sparked by the pandemic is also driving up listings.

"When people emigrate to a new country, they naturally would choose to sell properties back home," said Derek Chan, head of research at Ricacorp Properties.

The national security law that tightens China's grip on Hong Kong has prompted some residents to look for an exit plan, with the UK among the most popular destinations given the colonial ties to the city.

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Eric Yip, a director at Link-UK Property Consultancy who brokers sales of UK properties for Hong Kong residents, said his firm saw a more than threefold jump in transactions between June and August from the same period last year. The UK has offered a pathway to citizenship for three million eligible Hong Kong residents.

Most of his clients have sold their properties to fund their purchases in the UK, Yip added.

Despite the increasing supply of secondary homes in the market, property prices remain resilient. Resale home values slipped by less than 1 per cent since the start of the year, according to Centaline.

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