Date
20 September 2017
Japanese properties have become more attractive to Hong Kong buyers as the yen depreciates. Photo: Bloomberg
Japanese properties have become more attractive to Hong Kong buyers as the yen depreciates. Photo: Bloomberg

Property veterans warn of risks in buying overseas

Hong Kong buyers of overseas properties are being warned of the risks involved in dealing with unregulated agents, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Monday.

“Eight out of 10 property consultancy firms handling overseas property purchases are believed to be non-licensed,” said Alex Yeung Kwun-wah, vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Chamber of Professional Property Consultants and a director at Century 21 Goodwin Property Consultants.

It is just a matter of time before there is a bust in the market, Yeung said. 

Certain agencies notoriously threaten to call off deals at the eleventh hour, putting pressure on the overseas vendors to lower their asking price, he said.

“Such a practice is common in Hong Kong, but it is not the culture in Japan,” said Yeung.

“It wastes the time of the property owners and damages Hong Kong’s reputation.” 

JP Housing director Kenneth So, a veteran intermediary in Hongkongers’ purchases of Japanese real estate, urged the city’s Estate Agents Authority to learn from the example of Singapore in regulating local agents’ activities overseas.

But North American property developer Westbank Corp. rejected the suggestion of tightening the grip on agents, saying it may clash with the rules that apply overseas. 

The authority said any locally licensed agents who breached the code of conduct in processing overseas transactions should face disciplinary action. 

Four complaints regarding offshore property sales, in mainland China and Canada, have been registered so far this year.

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VW/JP/FL

Freelance journalist

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