Chinese interest in buying UK residential property increased by 91 per cent in the second half of 2020, reports China’s biggest international estate agent Juwai.
Momentum has continued into the first quarter of 2021 and buying off plan directly from China has become common practice. This is not surprising, given the desire of China’s high net-worth individuals (HNWIs) to invest 61 per cent of their £1.1 trillion wealth in overseas property.
- 83% of Mainland Chinese intend to educate their children overseas
- 61% of affluent Chinese buy international real estate for investment diversification
- 61% of rich Chinese buy real estate abroad to live in
- 37% purchase overseas property as their primary residence
- 56% of China’s HNWI’s have either migrated or intend to.
However, while the value of Chinese buyers is increasingly recognised by developers and agents, understanding their preferred buying journey, and how to meet their needs is often misunderstood.
A qualitive survey of Chinese owners of British property who live in China, and Chinese expats in the UK, tells what their buying experience looked like, and reveals how and when sellers need to engage with sales prospects.
“Chinese buyers undertake significantly more research than their UK counterparts, and the process itself is quite different and ever changing,” explains Domenica Di Lieto, CEO of Chinese strategy planning and marketing consultancy Emerging Communications, who undertook the survey.
“They don’t start by looking at information from sellers, as this happens quite a long way down their information gathering journey.
“They first seek information through credible sources such as friends, family, and respected peers and key opinion leaders (KOL’s). They then look at investment reports and video content, and follow property news portals.
“The next phase is attending on and offline property events, and livestream broadcasts.”
“During Covid, livestreaming through Chinese social media has become very effective at engaging buyer targets, and can directly generates sales“
Domenica Di Lieto, Emerging Communications
“KOLs also play a vital role, and sellers should work with them to curate relevant content that will truly engage prospective buyers with authentic and resonating information that drives intent, and draws prospects into the sales funnel.”
Making Contact With Sellers
“WeChat is the preferred contact point for Chinese sales enquiries,” Domenica continues.
“It is important that developers and agents understand WeChat it is not an open social platform like Facebook or Twitter. Only those signed up to follow a particular WeChat account can see and engage with posted content.
“Prospective followers have to be recruited using WeChat advertising, or other social platforms.
“WeChat mini programs should also be an important part of the sales journey, and used to nurture followers with deeper and richer content, similar to the way western prospects engage with website content.”
“Chinese buyers behave, and have very different needs to counterparts elsewhere. Sales strategy based on translation as the core factor doesn’t work.
“Whether living in China or in the UK, Chinese buyers may seem demanding, but developers and agents that meet them on their terms get a very significant payoff through sales, and the long term attraction of positive reputation,” concludes Domenica.
For a free copy of the Chinese Property Buyers Survey, please click here.