East London, a settlement for the new Chinese generation

Written by Jianan Li, Sisi Wang

Translated by Xiaofeng Li

For more than a decade, East London has witnessed the emergence of Chinese buyers looking to invest large amounts of money on new-build residential properties.

After taking various factors into consideration, potential investors with strong purchasing power, especially Chinese students and young professionals who are in urgent need to settle down, see properties in the new financial district and surrounding areas as ideal homes and relatively safe investments, making Canary Wharf and Docklands the top locations in England's capital city.

As the proportion of Chinese residents in East London has hit a new record high, it is predicted that the local community, along with other traditional Chinese settlements such as Islington, Colindale and China Town, will play a major roles in fostering local business and staging Chinese political participators as it develops each day.

The Chinese Weekly interviewed some estate agents who provide their services mainly to Chinese residents living in East London, discussing why properties in East London appeal to Chinese buyers.

The London 2012 Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games not only brought East London masses of tourists, but also stimulated strong economic growth in the area. Soaring skyscrapers have lined the area, providing a clear indicator of plans to re-structure London's economic landscape.

“Compared to North and South London where the property market is fully saturated, we saw great potential in this location.” said David Wei, CEO of real estate agency - The China Sunny Way.

He added: “The establishment and improvement of a convenient DLR system help to link London’s financial hub to Central London within dozens of minutes. The city of London offers a large amount of high income positions, attracting many gold collar workers to come and find a proper residence which matches their social status. These newly – launched upmarket apartments precisely meet their demand. ”

Having lived in Canary Wharf for over 5 years, Miss Huang said the living environment is superior to any other location in London. Apartments here typically offer spacious designs, modern furbishment, a clear view of the Thames and reasonable prices, all of which meet the preferences of the average Chinese buyer.

There were also economic considerations when Mr.Huang bought her flat. She continued, “From the investment point of view, no matter to let or to sell, locating in an area with such potential will guarantee a satisfactory price.”

Speaking of the changes in recent years, Miss Yang who lives in Lewisham told The Chinese Weekly that, as the Chinese population dwelling in East London is booming each year, many forward-looking merchants have foreseen the business opportunities there. Supporting facilities and shops in Chinese communities such as accounting firms, law offices, Chinese medicine clinics, oriental supermarkets and fast food restaurants are set up to fill the gaps in the emerging Chinese market there.

Current student  Mr Sun has noticed that some sales offices are decorated with Chinese knots to attract Chinese buyers.

Dating back to the Second World War, the Chinese settlements were crowded with immigrants who were boatmen and laundrywomen. However, circumstances have changed with the passage of time, and East London is now perceived as a new Chinese settlement generating an increasing amount of business for the country.