Concerns as Chatham Waters apartments are marketed in Hong Kong

Concerns are growing that home seekers could miss riverside apartments that are marketed 6,000 miles away in Hong Kong.

Top property consultants Savills have launched a promotion to sell Chatham Waters homes overseas, raising fears overseas investors may step in for a quick buck.

Chatham Water Development. Photo: Peel L&P

Developers Peel L&P and Legal and General Affordable Homes are overseeing the multimillion-pound seafront development for a mix of one and two-bedroom apartments and three-bedroom townhouses on a 26-acre site.

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

Former Cllr cabinet member Rupert Turpin (Con) said: “It’s not helpful to local people. The government has rightly recognized the need for affordable housing and it’s rather defeats the purpose .

“It shows that the government’s housing policies are having unintended consequences. We’ve seen parts of central London become places of uninhabited and ultra-expensive Russian real estate. Let’s not repeat that soulless experience here in Chatham.”

Cllr Rupert Turpin
Cllr Rupert Turpin

Ward Councilor Andy Stamp (Lab) said: “This clearly demonstrates that Chatham Waters is not a development that meets the needs of local residents.

“These luxury apartments are unaffordable for most Medway residents.

“Peel L&P seems to be more concerned with marketing the site internationally than building genuinely affordable homes for the local community.

“This is further evidence that the proposed closure of the nearby Chatham Docks site to make way for more luxury apartments will not only result in the loss of over 2,300 jobs, but will also not benefit the people of Medway in any way. ”

The sales pitch offered by the Savills Hong Kong office includes water features, a riverside promenade, a central park with play areas with the benefit of being 38 minutes by train from the center of London. Peel’s master plan includes shops, leisure and commercial facilities.

Cllr Andy Stamp
Cllr Andy Stamp

Apartment prices range from around £227,500 to £368,000 and have balconies and large windows to make the most of the views.

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

Buying in the UK has proven a profitable proposition for Hong Kongers where, at over £2,000 a month, the rental market is also expensive.

The average property price in Kent is around £387,000.

The county’s market has attracted buyers from Hong Kong striking deals in the more affluent parts of the southeast.

A previous artist's impression of new homes in Chatham Waters
A previous artist’s impression of new homes in Chatham Waters

But county real estate experts say while many of these properties are being purchased, it’s not always for the buy-to-let market.

Speaking about a development in Tunbridge Wells which last year saw 22 homes bought by Hong Kong buyers, an agent specializing in identifying UK homes for residents of the town told KentOnline that it was more about finding a permanent home due to the extreme property costs there.

“UK properties have always been popular among Hong Kong buyers for investment purposes,” said Fanny Chan, UK manager for Hong Kong real estate agency Raeon International.

“But I’ve never seen such strong demand for UK homes from HK buyers. Right now that’s probably the strongest demand we’ve seen.”

Ms Chan added that around 60-70% of her clients were looking for properties to live on their own and were particularly interested in areas with good links to education and links to London.

“I have never seen such strong demand for UK homes from HK buyers. Right now this is probably the strongest demand we have seen…”

Another reason many believe there is growing interest is a change in visa rules for British nationals residing in Hong Kong in light of unrest over the Beijing government’s growing influence over the city.

The Chatham Waters development currently includes an Asda supermarket and the Marston pub, with retirement home projects also planned.

Peel and Savills were approached for comment.

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