Relocating to China and Hong Kong? Latest Market Information
Posted by: Sanny Linawati, Director, Destination & Real Estate Services
Keeping up to date with the latest markets trends and how they could impact your global relocation program is an ongoing challenge. If you relocate assignees to China and Hong Kong, our latest Market Watch reports give details on the current housing, schooling, and immigration issues in these important Asian destinations.
Relocation Housing Update
In Shanghai, overall residential rental rates rose in the second quarter of 2016. Increasing market maturity, rising local demand, improved accommodation offerings, and a lack of new supply supported the rise in demand and pushed occupancy rates to historic highs.
In Beijing, the high-end leasing market remained stable with good demand for both small- and larger-sized units. This was due, in part, to the closure of some popular serviced apartments. Alternatively, both demand and occupancy levels for larger-sized villas decreased in the second quarter of 2016 as expatriate demand reduced.
In Hong Kong, our in-house destination service team reports that there is a steady rise in the demand for small- and medium-sized properties compared to the end of 2015. However, demand in the large and luxury property market has remained slow.
Hong Kong Schooling
For many years, the availability of school places has been an ongoing challege for families relocating to Hong Kong. Whilst the Hong Kong Government has done much to improve the situation, and new schools are being built, companies should note that the fees for school places have risen. Our latest Hong Kong Market Watch gives a useful Schools Cost Estimator to assist with future planning and budgeting.
Hong Kong Immigration Changes
In Hong Kong, the Immigration Department has issued new recommendations regarding the length of time taken to process visa applications, and the procedure for considering local workers for a position. This comes as a result of an audit conducted early in 2016. There are new forms and guidelines for employers to follow which are outlined in our Hong Kong Market Watch. Our advice to companies relocating employees to Hong Kong is to seek professional guidance for all visa-related processes and to allow plenty of time for the application process. Last year’s audit indicated that some applications took over 90 days to complete.
Cartus regularly relocates international assignees to China and Hong Kong and, as you would expect, we’ve faced many different and unusual requests from the families we have moved. One of these instances illustrates our flexibility in helping a new mother with a young baby start a new life in Asia. Or finding a property for a transferring employee in Shanghai, and not only meeting his location and feng shui requirements, but also negotiating monthly rent savings. Read about these and other stories here.