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Concerns as Chatham Waters apartments marketed in Hong Kong

Concerns are mounting that home-seekers may miss out on riverside apartments which are being marketed 6,000 miles away in Hong Kong.

Top property consultants Savills has launched a promotion to sell the housing at Chatham Waters overseas, prompting fears foreign investors could step in to snap up a quick profit.

Chatham Waters development. Picture: Peel L&P
Chatham Waters development. Picture: Peel L&P

Developers Peel L&P and Legal and General Affordable Homes are overseeing the multi-million pound waterfront development for a mix of one and two-bedroom apartments and three-bedroom town houses across a 26-acre site.

However, Medway councillors across the political divide say they fear much-needed housing could be wasted if property in the Medway Towns falls into foreign hands.

Former cabinet member Cllr Rupert Turpin (Con) said: "This is not helpful to local people. The government has rightly recognised the need for affordable housing and this rather defeats the object.

"This shows the government’s housing policies are having unintended consequences. We have seen parts of central London become places of uninhabited and ultra expensive Russian real estate. Let us not repeat that soulless experiment here in Chatham."

Cllr Rupert Turpin
Cllr Rupert Turpin

Ward councillor Andy Stamp (Lab) said: “This demonstrates Chatham Waters clearly isn’t a development which meets the needs of local residents.

"These luxury apartments are unaffordable for most Medway residents.

"Peel L&P appear to be more concerned about marketing the site internationally than building genuinely affordable homes for the local community.

"This is further evidence that the proposed closure of the Chatham Docks site next door to make way for more luxury apartments will not only lead to the loss of more than 2,300 jobs, it will also be of no benefit to the people of Medway whatsoever.”

The sales pitch being offered by Savills' Hong Kong office boasts water features, a promenade along the riverside, a central park with play areas with the bonus of being 38 minutes by train to central London. Peel's masterplan includes shops, leisure and commercial facilities.

Cllr Andy Stamp
Cllr Andy Stamp

Apartments range in price from about £227,500 to £368,000 and come with balconies and full-sized windows to make the most of the views.

The deals offered will prove attractive to people living in Hong Kong which has become the most expensive property market in the world with house prices averaging about £940,000.

Buying in the UK has proved a profitable proposition for Hong Kongers where, at more than £2,000 a month, the rental market is also pricey.

Kent's average property price is about £387,000.

The market in the county has attracted buyers from Hong Kong who snap up deals in the more affluent areas of the south east.

A previous artist's impression of new homes at Chatham Waters
A previous artist's impression of new homes at Chatham Waters

But property experts in the county say while many of these properties are snapped up, it is not always for the buy-to-let market.

Speaking about a development in Tunbridge Wells which last year saw 22 homes snapped up by purchasers from Hong Kong, an agent who specialises in identifying homes in the UK for people in the city told KentOnline it was more about finding a permanent home due to the extreme costs of property there.

"UK properties have always been popular among HK buyers for investment purposes," said Fanny Chan, head of UK for Hong Kong property agency Raeon International.

"But I've never seen such a strong demand for UK houses from HK buyers. Right now, it's probably the strongest demand we've seen."

Ms Chan added about 60-70% of her clients were looking for properties to live in themselves and were particularly interested in areas with good education links and connections to London.

"I've never seen such a strong demand for UK houses from HK buyers. Right now, it's probably the strongest demand we've seen..."

Another reason many believe there is an increasing interest is a change in visa rules for British nationals resident in Hong Kong in light of unrest against growing influence from the Beijing government over the city.

The Chatham Waters development currently boasts an Asda supermarket and Marston's pub, with plans retirement home also planned.

Peel and Savills were approached for comment.

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