Hong Kong rental market on the rise as talent search prospers

Over 100,000 applications had been approved under various talent admission schemes, with 60,000 workers having arrived in Hong Kong.

Photo from CFP

Photo from CFP

By ZAHNG Xilong


The latest Hong Kong property review shows the city's private residential rental market at a three-year high.

During the three years of the pandemic, overall rental prices in Hong Kong were under pressure, but the situation has visibly improved. Hong Kong real estate sales are as bad as they have ever been, while rentals rise.

But it’s not just about potential buyers sitting tight, government moves to attract key workers have boosted rental demand. As of the end of October, over 100,000 applications had been approved under various talent admission schemes, with around 60,000 visa holders having arrived in Hong Kong.

Knight Frank's latest October 2023 Hong Kong Residential Leasing Market Report described demand for leasing: The Hong Kong residential leasing market has experienced a vibrant summer, with a significant surge in property inquiries.

The report highlighted that professionals in the shipping industry are driving demand for luxury apartments and townhouses on Hong Kong Island, while demand from financial professionals from mainland China, Europe (excluding the UK), Singapore, and India are concentrated in high-end serviced apartments.

Townplace West Kowloon, the largest project in Hong Kong designed specifically for high-end talent, has seen hundreds of units leased out for long-term rentals. The first batch of 105 units was released in July and the second batch of approximately 180 units in September, all fully occupied. Half of the clients are locals, and half are non-Hong Kong residents, mainly aged below 40, working or seeking employment in Hong Kong.

The latest policy address by SAR chief executive Lee Ka-chiu proposed expanding the high-end talent admission scheme. While the leasing market is hot, sales are near a near seven-year low and Lee promised substantial cuts to stamp duty.

In the long run, converting huge demand in the leasing market into sales will be key to recovery.