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Factors to Consider Before Buying a Real Estate Property in Hong Kong

Hong Kong - buy property tips

The real estate market in Hong Kong is considered one of the most expensive property markets in the world. The market is considered mature with investments in the market realizing significant returns. In almost every town in Hong Kong, investment in the property market takes a very short period before yielding substantial equity. The fast growth and maturity can be attributed to the perfect location of Hong Kong, which enables the country to be a gateway to the plummeting economy of China that has been attracting a large number of both local and foreign investors in the recent years. Moreover, the building age of the real estate industry of Hong Kong dates several years back, which explains the maturity of the market; foreign investors have also been largely attributed to the growth of the market, with Hong Kong attracting thousands of investors each year.

Investing in mature property markets is an approach that is done profitably by seasoned investors who have extensive experience in the cycles of real estate market.  If you are a first-time average investor looking forward to investing in Hong Kong it is advisable that you be cautious and you also need to carefully study a mature market first before investing. You could also try investing in a market that is not yet mature in town that is currently developing.

As the saying goes -- making the best real estate decision can yield to better returns and a considerable equity on your property. However, real estate investment cannot turn you into an overnight tycoon. It requires time and patience for your property to appreciate in value and for the investment to yield better returns; you need both before making any investment decision. Therefore, to make a good investment decision for property investment in Hong Kong, you need to consider various factors. They include:

Market Considerations

    • Location of the Property

In real estate investment, the location of a property is the most important factor that determines its suitability. Finding the best location can determine the yields that you will reap from the investment. You need to be patient as you research and evaluate the most strategic location that has a potential growth of your investment.

When evaluating a potential location, it is important for you to study the population movement. You need to determine the population preference for a location because as the population increases, so does the prices of property and renting leases; the converse is also true.

High population movement is a perfect indicator of long-term population growth which is directly related to the long-term growth of the property market.  You will also have to study the demographic patterns of the location that you intend to invest in comparison with other locations. Generally, you should study any changes in the demography e.g. the age sets of the people moving to the location; is the town inhabited by the working class or is the population dominated by students. The demography patterns will help you to evaluate the likelihood that the population is likely to grow, shrink or remain the same. You need to remember that the changes in population impacts upon the potentials of the property market and will eventually determine the growth of your investment. Therefore developing towns such as Tai Po or Shan Tin have a higher future potential growth than already mature markets such as Victoria City or Kowloon. You need to be good at spotting locations that offer immense opportunities for future growth and development. Such areas may have lower prices on property currently while promising better yields in future. This makes them ideal places for investment.

  • Supply and Demand

Like any other market for products and services, the laws of demand and supply also govern the real estate market of Hong Kong. This means that investors get more returns on their investments when there is a good and constant demand that exceeds the market supply.

On the other hand, if the demand shrinks while the supply remains constant or increases, the market will crash because the prices will definitely come down thus tumbling your investments. This can lead to heavy losses. It is, therefore, important for you to analyze a market before making an investment decision. A good investor should forecast the growth of the market in years to come, most preferably, more than five years. However, studying a market can be tedious because the demand and supply of the market may be influenced by various variables such as the economic growth of the location or the infrastructural development of the locations.
You will also need to gather specific property metrics that predict the attractiveness of the location. To get more insight on demand and supply of a market, you need to evaluate various metrics at least for the past 5 years. They include;

 

  • Growth rate of foreign investors and non-natives from other towns investing in the location
  • Vacancy patterns
  • Average number of days that a property stays on the market
  • The population proportion of people renting property to owners already living on their property.
  • The rate of discount applied during property sale to lure buyers.
  • The rates charged on auction clearances.

 

  • Economic growth

The property market of Hong Kong is governed by the cause and effect relationship of the economy. Economic growth has a significant impact on the growth of real estate investments. Positive economic growth is favorable to the investments and makes the property market more vibrant. Employment level is a major indicator of economic growth. High employment levels indicate that inhabitants of a place have higher disposable incomes hence a high demand for rentals and purchase of a property. It is important for you to invest in a location where the employment level is long-term.

  • Infrastructural Development

Infrastructure aids in the growth of urban centers by opening up a location. Therefore the decision that governments make on infrastructure developments have an impact on a location. You need to look out for places that the Hong Kong government has made steps to develop various infrastructural developments such as transportation networks.

Other factors that complement infrastructural developments are proximities to social amenities such as educational centers, health centers etc. These social amenities help in advancing the lifestyles and social statuses of the population and they promote settlement of people hence increase the demand for properties.

You need to look out for locations that the government has initiated or planned to spend in developments because such locations promise long-term growth of property assets.

  • Yield Variance

Yield variations depict the gains that an investment asset realizes annually based on the standard value of the asset. When calculating the yield variance, it is advisable that you determine the yield variation of the assets over a period of time for instance 5 years or more as opposed to just a specific period such a one year. Calculating the variations gained over several years will help you figure a clearer picture of the returns that an asset in a certain location is generating over time and the consistency levels of the variations. This can help you determine if it would be feasible for you to make an investment in the property markets of the region.

  • Financing Options

Never make an investment that you can't afford to pay for. You need to be in a good financial position before you decide to invest in property. Otherwise, be sure that you can obtain further funding. When venturing on real estate investment in Hong Kong, you need to know that apart from the payments that you are going to make for the investment, other expenses will certainly accrue such as taxes, legal fees, brokerage fees, solicitor fees, stamp duty etc. You need to be at a position to cater for these expenses too.

However, since the investment in property is usually made through external financing, the first step you should take is considering your financing options. You need to establish the sources of financing available and the totals costs of the financing -- that is the amount extended to you including the interest amounts charged and other fees applied to the funding. It is important for you to ascertain the interest rates of the financing option available based on the returns of the investment. A sound investment option should be able to comfortably meet the costs of the financing over time while enabling the equity to grow.

The best financing options are usually available for investors who pay at least 20-25% down payment of the total credit borrowed. To maximize your chances of getting a better deal from lenders, be ready to meet this percentage before borrowing. This means that you should not expect 100% financing from lenders. You should be armed with a reasonable amount of money that will enable you to make a deposit that shows lenders that you are serious about making the investment.

  • Validity Period of the Agreement

Another important consideration that you should make when acquiring property n Hong Kong is the validity period of the purchase or sale agreement. For you to be able to correctly know the validity of the agreement you should have more information about the saleable property as well as the age and the permitted occupation purposes. This information can be obtained from the Property Information Online provided by the government of Hong Kong. The information is vital in helping your make an informed decision of the best places that are suitable and permitted for you to make an investment.

After you have nailed down a property that you are interested in purchasing, you will need to ascertain if the seller has the capacity to sell the property either the owner or has been capacitated by the owner to sell a property on their behalf. It is also important for you to establish whether the government to any other government regulated authorities need to consent before the property is sold. Another important consideration is whether there are any subsisting agreements pertaining to government orders, mortgages, tenancy agreements etc. It is also important to ensure that there are no outstanding liabilities by the seller regarding the property. The seller should be able to clear all the arrears owing to mortgage payments, land rates etc before you make the purchase. Additionally, you will need to ascertain if there are any pending litigations that may lead to the annulment of the agreement and whether the property does not have any illegal structures.

If all the conditions necessary are satisfied, you are good to go in paying the initial deposit in order to sign the provisional sale and purchase agreement and after further negotiations between your solicitors and solicitors from the vendor, you can proceed to sign the formal sale and purchase agreement documents and later have the property transferred to your possession.

  • Evaluate the Market Patterns

Just like any other marketplace, the real estate market has its own trends that it follows. Positive cycles usually result to a high appreciation of property that results in better yields on the investment. Positive cycles are usually followed by negative cycles whereby the market crashes due to stagnant economic periods thus occasioning huge losses. Hence, a property that was highly valued a year ago could be sold for less value today.

It is advisable you have adequate market knowledge and be in a position to forecast these trends so that you can know the best time to make a sound investment. This also applies to realtors who need to provide proper knowledge that is valuable to investors.
In addition, in case the market stagnates while you have several properties, it is important for you to exercise patience and hold onto the investment as you wait for a positive market cycle when the value of the properties will be favorable.

Personal Considerations

  • Establish Good Credit

If you will be relying on external sources to finance your investment, it is important for you to ensure that you have a sound credit history. You need to be able to access enough funding that will enable you to pay for the investment as well as other expenses that may accrue. Importantly, the advanced financing should be affordable.

Most lenders usually rely on your credit history and ratings to determine the amount of credit that they will provide as well as the percentage of interest rates that you will have to pay on the amount advanced. Therefore, it is essential to establish that you have a good credit score, which will ensure that you can obtain good credit financing at low-interest rates. Building credit history can take time and it is usually influenced by your repayment patterns on the external funds that you obtain from financial institutions. Always make your repayments on time and try to avoid being in default of the money advanced for you to record a high credit score.
It is always advisable to keep all mortgages and credit facilities at their minimum.  Obtaining large finances could lead to a troubled investment if the returns that you get are insufficient to repay the credit.

  • Prepare your Investment Team before You Decide to Purchase a Property

You need to consider preparing your investment team prior to making the investment. Every person that you will need to sail through the purchase of property smoothly should be prepared and forearmed with all important information that is crucial to ensure that you make a sound investment.

Every professional whom you may need for all the real estate transactions should be prepared before you go for a property. This includes investment advisors, portfolio managers, solicitors, home inspectors, realtors, accountants, attorneys, credit financiers etc. When the team is ready, you can swiftly move and grab a ‘hot' deal with fewer problems when you spot one. In addition, having the team prepared could save you from expensive costs that you could incur when making the investment.

  • Be a Good Bargainer

As a buyer, you need to be very good at negotiating the prices of the investment. This is a thing you should be clear with your agent. Use the power as the buyer to make incredible offers that can ensure that you save a good amount of money when buying a property. Being a good bargainer will also enable the agent representing you to try and negotiate a better deal that will help you save on the costs of the purchase.

It also helps you to conduct appropriate research to enable you to determine the best financing that attracts low-interest rates thus helps you save the costs incurred.  For instance, you may realize that you could obtain a personal loan to invest in real estate using your job salary as a security. That is a great step. However, you might also realize that you qualify for a substantial home equity loan whereby a home that you are still financing is used as collateral. If you were to consider both options with regards to the amount of interest rates, you will realize that the latter option is the best because it attracts lower interest charges and thus minimizes the costs of obtaining the finance.

Conclusion

Real estate investment might sound like a perfect idea to put your money while expecting to reap better refunds. More often than not, this usually happens and that why real estate moguls continue to build their wealth with time. However, it might be shocking for an investor to realize that the same market is quite volatile and susceptible to losses.
In addition, you will need to exercise patience when looking for the perfect property to buy. Haste may make you buy a property at higher prices or you may fail to buy a property that is ideal for your needs. Always wait for the best deal to arrive.

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Engel & Völkers Hong Kong, Real Estate Agency
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This data protection information applies to the use of the website https://www.engelvoelkers.com/hongkong/ (hereinafter referred to as “website”) and the Property Search App, a mobile application for property searches (hereinafter referred to as “property app”) and is valid from 25 May 2018.

The following information applies to both the website and the property app, unless expressly stated otherwise. 

Engel & Völkers VJI Limited in its function of responsible authority (hereinafter also referred to as “Engel & Völkers”) informs its users that

by using the website, personal data about them will be processed, in particular:

●    personal data (e.g. e-mail address, first name, surname, title, address, telephone number – in the following “Data” or “Personal data”) provided by users at the time of registration on the website (e.g. in connection with contact requests and mailing of newsletters);

●    personal data transferred from the user’s internet browser each time the user accesses the website is stored within log files, also known as server logs. This data comprises: IP address (Internet protocol address) of the accessing computer; name of the accessed site; date and time of access; related URL from which the user accesses the site; number of transferred data items; status report of successful access; session ID number.

by using the property app, personal data about them will be processed, in particular:

●    e-mail address, first name, surname, title, address, telephone number provided by users at the time of sending an enquiry;

●    Whenever the app is accessed, the usage data of the respective app user is saved. This data comprises: operating system used and, if applicable, the browser type, current language setting of the smartphone, information about the Internet service provider of the user, name of the retrieved page and, if applicable, the origin page, date and time of retrieval, amount of data transmitted, status report on whether the retrieval was successful, session identification number.

Purpose of processing

Engel & Völkers, as a responsible authority, processes the personal data of website users for the following purposes:

●    Fulfilment of user’s requests (legal basis is contract performance and the legitimate interest of Engel & Völkers in transferring contact requests within the Engel & Völkers Group to the appropriate company. The above “Engel & Völkers Group” comprises Engel & Völkers AG and its domestic and foreign associated companies in terms of the German Companies Act Sec. 15 ff, and the (master) licensees affiliated with this group of companies. A current listing of these licensees can be obtained here: https://www.engelvoelkers.com/de/unternehmen/standorte/);

●    The forwarding of e-mail newsletters on the company’s own offers and advertising by the company or third parties to the legally permissible extent or based on consent. (Legal basis is the legitimate interest of Engel & Völkers in direct marketing, providing this is in accordance with the data protection and competition rules);

●    Analysis of the website for determining user behaviour. (Legal basis is the legitimate interest of Engel & Völkers in analysing user behaviour on our website for the purpose of continuously improving this or adapting it to the interests of our users);

●    Identification and possible blocking of users who have installed a so-called adblocker and who thereby block advertising. (Legal basis is the legitimate interest of Engel & Völkers of providing users who do not block advertising with wholly or partially web-financed offers);

●    In order to prevent fraudulent activities or misuse on the website or in connection with the website and to observe the legal stipulations for safe websites. (Legal basis is the legitimate interest of Engel & Völkers in remedying errors, guaranteeing system security and identifying impermissible access or access attempts.)

The legal basis for the processing of personal data is GDPR Article 6(1)(a), if the processing is based on consent, Article 6(1)(b) if the basis for processing is a contractual relationship and Article 6(1)(f) if the basis is the legitimate interests of Engel & Völkers.

processes the personal data of property app users for the following purposes:

●      Fulfilment of the requests of the app users (legal basis of the data collection is the consent of the user in accordance with Art. 6(1)(a) EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)). Analysis of the property app to determine usage behaviour (legal basis is the legitimate interest of Engel & Völkers in analysing user behaviour in our property app for the purpose of continuously improving this or adapting it to the interests of our users);

Nature of supply of personal data and consequences of objection

The personal data is voluntarily provided by users. They may freely decide whether to make personal data available to Engel & Völkers and may subsequently withdraw their consent from the processing of personal data which have already been made available. Withdrawal may mean that the Engel & Völkers website is no longer usable.

Processing methods

Users’ personal data may only be processed in case of need and processing will be performed electronically only, in particular by way of: gathering, registration, organisation, storage, consultancy, processing, amendment, selection, extraction, comparison, use, interconnection, access and communication, blocking, deletion and destruction of the data. Processing may be carried out electronically or non-electronically.

Access to data

The personal data is processed by Engel & Völkers and (in respect of individual items) particularly by

●    Employees (permanent employees such as job-holders and independent property consultants) and consultants authorised to administer the website and property app and provide the associated services;

●    Third-party supplier companies (e.g. IT service providers, hosting providers, etc.) to which Engel & Völkers has outsourced processing services as part of a job processing agreement.

Information about the data

As the responsible authority we are able to provide information about your personal data. However, this information may only be given for the following reasons:

·       In the case of fulfilment of legal obligations or obligations arising from regulations and guidelines under national or European laws.

·       For defence in court in the case of a legal dispute.

Disclosure of data

If your query relates to offers from other companies of the Engel & Völkers Group, Engel & Völkers transfers the personal data entered by you in this case to the respective company from the Engel & Völkers Group with your prior consent or on the basis of its legitimate interests.[A10]  Other than this, your personal data will not be disclosed by Engel & Völkers.

Disclosure of data in non-EEA countries

In principle, Engel & Völkers does not transfer personal data to non-EEA countries without your consent. The servers used by Engel & Völkers are located within the European Union.

If your query relates to companies of the Engel & Völkers Group outside the European Union, we communicate your data under your consent.

In cases where personal data is transferred to countries that do not offer the same level of protection as within the European Union and you have not expressly agreed to the transfer of your data to those countries by way of your consent, Engel & Völkers will ensure that certain contractual obligations under applicable data protection law (including the execution of standard contractual clauses approved by the European Commission) are agreed with each service provider, unless Engel & Völkers can invoke other legal grounds for the transfer of personal data.

Saving and deleting of data

Engel & Völkers saves personal data for the time necessary for achieving the purposes for which the data was gathered and processed, including any storage period stipulated under the applicable legislation (e.g. retention of bookkeeping vouchers) and in any case for a maximum of 24 months [A11] after the personal data was gathered.

Use of cookies

Use of cookies on the website

In order to improve website browsing, Engel & Völkers uses “cookies”. Cookies are small text files, generally consisting of letters and numbers, stored on the user’s web browser on their PC and containing pseudonymised data. Cookies allow a website to recognise the user’s computer in order to follow searches made on several pages of a website and to identify users who return to a website. Cookies may have technical, analytical or profiling purposes.

The direct and indirect cookies used by Engel & Völkers are summarised here: https://www.engelvoelkers.com/en-de/privacy-policy-ag/doc/ev_cookies_lp.pdf.

The website uses the following technical cookies:

For storing language selection _icl_visitor_lang_js, _icl_current_language, evlocale.For storing selection of measuring units engelundvoelkersconfig.For storing last search requests LAST_SEARCH.For storing the watchlist ID watchlist_id.For storing test reference within AB tests user_ab.For storing references to distributed systems in load balancers BIGipServergroup-rz-webfe-prod.

Engel & Völkers informs users that they may deactivate or remove cookies in their web browser by following the instructions on the following links:

●      Internet Explorer ((https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/help/17442/windows-internet-explorer-delete-manage-cookies).

●      Mozilla Firefox (https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/delete-cookies-remove-info-websites-stored).

●      Safari (https://support.apple.com/kb/PH19214?viewlocale=en_US&locale=de_DE).

The website also uses analytical cookies set by third-party providers, e.g. Google (see also provisions on use of analysis programs and tracking tools) and Adroll (https://www.adroll.com/de-DE/about) /Privatsphäre) and Haufe (https://de.onlinehelp.umantis.com/index.php/Cookies).

In more detail:

a)       Google Analytics

Engel & Völkers uses the web analytics service Google Analytics from Google Inc. (“Google”) for analysing the use of websites. The information generated by cookies about the use of websites is generally transferred to a Google server in the USA and stored there. Engel & Völkers uses Google Analytics solely with the extension "ga ('set', 'anonymizeIp', true)", in order to ensure that IP addresses are only processed in a shortened version and in order to prevent direct references to individual persons. Google may transfer data to third parties if this is prescribed by law or if third parties process these data on behalf of Google. Google will not publish the IP address of the user in connection with other Google data. Users may at any time prevent the recording and storage of data by Google Analytics, by installing a Google-approved browser plug-in which can be downloaded from the following link: https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout?hl=de.

b)       Universal Analytics

Engel & Völkers uses the Universal Analytics functions provided by Google. These functions allow Engel & Völkers to record and analyse socio-demographic data about users by means of a Google ID (if available) and by means of cookies generated by Google from advertising contents (DoubleClick). If a Google ID is available, the data controller will be able to record this data across all devices (e.g. if users have both a smartphone and a PC) for analysing visitor flows across all devices. Users may at any time prevent the recording and storage of data by Google Analytics by installing a Google-approved browser plug-in which can be downloaded from the following link: https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout?hl=de.

This website does not use profiling cookies.

Use of cookies and other tracking in the Property App

Engel & Völkers needs statistical information on the use of the Property App to make it more user-friendly. For this purpose, Engel & Völkers deploys the following analysis tools. The providers of the tools process data, where personal data are processed, as a processor in accordance with the instructions of Engel & Völkers.

To find out which other cookies the Property App uses click here: https://www.engelvoelkers.com/en-de/privacy-policy-ag/doc/ev_cookies_lp.pdf.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is provided by Google Inc., 1600 Amphitheater Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA (“Google”). We use Google Analytics with the additional feature offered by Google to anonymise IP addresses: In this case, Google's IP address is usually already shortened within the EU and only in exceptional cases in the US and in any case only saved in abbreviated form. The privacy policy can be viewed here: https://privacy.google.com/businesses/processorterms/

  

If you want to opt out of Google Analytics tracking, go to your system settings and disable Google Analytics access in the Tracking section of the “Engel & Völkers Property Search” app.

If you want to opt out of tracking Google Analytics on Android, go to the app settings and disable Google Analytics access.

HockeyApp

HockeyApp is provided by Microsoft (Microsoft Corporation, One Microsoft Way, Redmond, WA 98052-6399, USA). We use HockeyApp for error analyses and to improve the property app. If it crashes, the user may agree to submit a crash report to HockeyApp. A crash report includes information about the crash date and time, the affected software module, the operating system and language used, and the device type and IP address. The crash report will only be sent to HockeyApp once this has been specifically approved. The information contained in the crash report may be partially processed in the United States. HockeyApp is a service from Microsoft. Legal information about it can be found here: 

https://azure.microsoft.com/de-de/support/legal/.

The privacy policy can be viewed here: 

https://www.microsoft.com/de-de/privacystatement/OnlineServices/Default.aspx

Crashlytics

Crashlytics is an analysis tool offered and operated by Crashlytics Inc., based in Cambridge, MA, USA. Crashlytics generates crash reports, i.e. reports about malfunctions or failures of the app, where and in which context these have occurred, how many users of the app are affected, etc. Engel & Völkers uses these reports to detect malfunctions or failures to be able to react faster, more purposefully and more efficiently in the interests of the users and to be able to improve the app technically. For this purpose, Crashlytics, together with the user’s Symphony-related app ID, which can be deleted at any time, records data on the crash and on general data of the respective IT environment (in particular on the used device, the mobile service provider and the operating system). If personal or pseudonymous data is included, Crashlytics will delete it within seven days. This information will give Crashlytics and subsequently Engel & Völkers insight into whether and how the app works and is used, especially the malfunctions and failures that occur. Further information is available at try.crashlytics.com/terms/privacy-policy.pdf.

Links to social media pages

This website contains links to the main social media network sites (e.g. Facebook and Twitter). These are not embedded social media plug-ins, but a link through which no personal data is transmitted to the social media operators.

Rights of persons concerned

You have the right to information on the processing of your personal data (for example, the origin of this data, the processing purpose, the modalities of the data processing). Furthermore, on certain conditions, you are entitled, at any time, to object to data processing in the future, to limit it or to demand the deletion of the data. Finally, you can prevent the sending of advertising material or the implementation of market research or commercial communications at any time.

In summary, you have a right to

-       information,

-       correction,

-       deletion (or to be forgotten),

-       limitation of processing,

-       data portability,

-       objection to the processing of your personal data,

-       complaint to the supervisory authorities.

Please note that your right to deletion is subject to certain restrictions. For instance we need not or may not delete any data which we need to retain for a further period under a statutory retention period. Data needed by us for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims are also excepted from your right to deletion.

To exercise the above rights and to request information, users may write to the following e-mail address hongkongmmc@engelvoelkers.com[A12]  or postal address Engel & Völkers VJI Limited, [A13] Shop A, 95 Caine Road, Mid Level West, Hong Kong. Similarly, users may at any time withdraw consent to, correct and delete the processing of their data.

Contacts

The responsible authority for processing of data is Engel & Völkers VJI Limited, [A14] Shop A, 95 Caine Road, Mid Level West, Hong Kong. In the event of questions regarding our data processors, we are happy to make a current list of these available to you.

If you have a complaint regarding the way that we process your data, you have the opportunity to submit a complaint to the supervisory authority. This is: 

Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg

Hamburg’s representative for data protection and freedom of information

Prof. Dr. Johannes Caspar

Kurt-Schumacher-Allee 4, 20097 Hamburg

Mailbox@datenschutz.hamburg.de[A15] 

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Please enter the property information.

This data protection information applies to the use of the website https://www.engelvoelkers.com/hongkong/ (hereinafter referred to as “website”) and the Property Search App, a mobile application for property searches (hereinafter referred to as “property app”) and is valid from 25 May 2018.

The following information applies to both the website and the property app, unless expressly stated otherwise. 

Engel & Völkers VJI Limited in its function of responsible authority (hereinafter also referred to as “Engel & Völkers”) informs its users that

by using the website, personal data about them will be processed, in particular:

●    personal data (e.g. e-mail address, first name, surname, title, address, telephone number – in the following “Data” or “Personal data”) provided by users at the time of registration on the website (e.g. in connection with contact requests and mailing of newsletters);

●    personal data transferred from the user’s internet browser each time the user accesses the website is stored within log files, also known as server logs. This data comprises: IP address (Internet protocol address) of the accessing computer; name of the accessed site; date and time of access; related URL from which the user accesses the site; number of transferred data items; status report of successful access; session ID number.

by using the property app, personal data about them will be processed, in particular:

●    e-mail address, first name, surname, title, address, telephone number provided by users at the time of sending an enquiry;

●    Whenever the app is accessed, the usage data of the respective app user is saved. This data comprises: operating system used and, if applicable, the browser type, current language setting of the smartphone, information about the Internet service provider of the user, name of the retrieved page and, if applicable, the origin page, date and time of retrieval, amount of data transmitted, status report on whether the retrieval was successful, session identification number.

Purpose of processing

Engel & Völkers, as a responsible authority, processes the personal data of website users for the following purposes:

●    Fulfilment of user’s requests (legal basis is contract performance and the legitimate interest of Engel & Völkers in transferring contact requests within the Engel & Völkers Group to the appropriate company. The above “Engel & Völkers Group” comprises Engel & Völkers AG and its domestic and foreign associated companies in terms of the German Companies Act Sec. 15 ff, and the (master) licensees affiliated with this group of companies. A current listing of these licensees can be obtained here: https://www.engelvoelkers.com/de/unternehmen/standorte/);

●    The forwarding of e-mail newsletters on the company’s own offers and advertising by the company or third parties to the legally permissible extent or based on consent. (Legal basis is the legitimate interest of Engel & Völkers in direct marketing, providing this is in accordance with the data protection and competition rules);

●    Analysis of the website for determining user behaviour. (Legal basis is the legitimate interest of Engel & Völkers in analysing user behaviour on our website for the purpose of continuously improving this or adapting it to the interests of our users);

●    Identification and possible blocking of users who have installed a so-called adblocker and who thereby block advertising. (Legal basis is the legitimate interest of Engel & Völkers of providing users who do not block advertising with wholly or partially web-financed offers);

●    In order to prevent fraudulent activities or misuse on the website or in connection with the website and to observe the legal stipulations for safe websites. (Legal basis is the legitimate interest of Engel & Völkers in remedying errors, guaranteeing system security and identifying impermissible access or access attempts.)

The legal basis for the processing of personal data is GDPR Article 6(1)(a), if the processing is based on consent, Article 6(1)(b) if the basis for processing is a contractual relationship and Article 6(1)(f) if the basis is the legitimate interests of Engel & Völkers.

processes the personal data of property app users for the following purposes:

●      Fulfilment of the requests of the app users (legal basis of the data collection is the consent of the user in accordance with Art. 6(1)(a) EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)). Analysis of the property app to determine usage behaviour (legal basis is the legitimate interest of Engel & Völkers in analysing user behaviour in our property app for the purpose of continuously improving this or adapting it to the interests of our users);

Nature of supply of personal data and consequences of objection

The personal data is voluntarily provided by users. They may freely decide whether to make personal data available to Engel & Völkers and may subsequently withdraw their consent from the processing of personal data which have already been made available. Withdrawal may mean that the Engel & Völkers website is no longer usable.

Processing methods

Users’ personal data may only be processed in case of need and processing will be performed electronically only, in particular by way of: gathering, registration, organisation, storage, consultancy, processing, amendment, selection, extraction, comparison, use, interconnection, access and communication, blocking, deletion and destruction of the data. Processing may be carried out electronically or non-electronically.

Access to data

The personal data is processed by Engel & Völkers and (in respect of individual items) particularly by

●    Employees (permanent employees such as job-holders and independent property consultants) and consultants authorised to administer the website and property app and provide the associated services;

●    Third-party supplier companies (e.g. IT service providers, hosting providers, etc.) to which Engel & Völkers has outsourced processing services as part of a job processing agreement.

Information about the data

As the responsible authority we are able to provide information about your personal data. However, this information may only be given for the following reasons:

·       In the case of fulfilment of legal obligations or obligations arising from regulations and guidelines under national or European laws.

·       For defence in court in the case of a legal dispute.

Disclosure of data

If your query relates to offers from other companies of the Engel & Völkers Group, Engel & Völkers transfers the personal data entered by you in this case to the respective company from the Engel & Völkers Group with your prior consent or on the basis of its legitimate interests.[A10]  Other than this, your personal data will not be disclosed by Engel & Völkers.

Disclosure of data in non-EEA countries

In principle, Engel & Völkers does not transfer personal data to non-EEA countries without your consent. The servers used by Engel & Völkers are located within the European Union.

If your query relates to companies of the Engel & Völkers Group outside the European Union, we communicate your data under your consent.

In cases where personal data is transferred to countries that do not offer the same level of protection as within the European Union and you have not expressly agreed to the transfer of your data to those countries by way of your consent, Engel & Völkers will ensure that certain contractual obligations under applicable data protection law (including the execution of standard contractual clauses approved by the European Commission) are agreed with each service provider, unless Engel & Völkers can invoke other legal grounds for the transfer of personal data.

Saving and deleting of data

Engel & Völkers saves personal data for the time necessary for achieving the purposes for which the data was gathered and processed, including any storage period stipulated under the applicable legislation (e.g. retention of bookkeeping vouchers) and in any case for a maximum of 24 months [A11] after the personal data was gathered.

Use of cookies

Use of cookies on the website

In order to improve website browsing, Engel & Völkers uses “cookies”. Cookies are small text files, generally consisting of letters and numbers, stored on the user’s web browser on their PC and containing pseudonymised data. Cookies allow a website to recognise the user’s computer in order to follow searches made on several pages of a website and to identify users who return to a website. Cookies may have technical, analytical or profiling purposes.

The direct and indirect cookies used by Engel & Völkers are summarised here: https://www.engelvoelkers.com/en-de/privacy-policy-ag/doc/ev_cookies_lp.pdf.

The website uses the following technical cookies:

For storing language selection _icl_visitor_lang_js, _icl_current_language, evlocale.For storing selection of measuring units engelundvoelkersconfig.For storing last search requests LAST_SEARCH.For storing the watchlist ID watchlist_id.For storing test reference within AB tests user_ab.For storing references to distributed systems in load balancers BIGipServergroup-rz-webfe-prod.

Engel & Völkers informs users that they may deactivate or remove cookies in their web browser by following the instructions on the following links:

●      Internet Explorer ((https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/help/17442/windows-internet-explorer-delete-manage-cookies).

●      Mozilla Firefox (https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/delete-cookies-remove-info-websites-stored).

●      Safari (https://support.apple.com/kb/PH19214?viewlocale=en_US&locale=de_DE).

The website also uses analytical cookies set by third-party providers, e.g. Google (see also provisions on use of analysis programs and tracking tools) and Adroll (https://www.adroll.com/de-DE/about) /Privatsphäre) and Haufe (https://de.onlinehelp.umantis.com/index.php/Cookies).

In more detail:

a)       Google Analytics

Engel & Völkers uses the web analytics service Google Analytics from Google Inc. (“Google”) for analysing the use of websites. The information generated by cookies about the use of websites is generally transferred to a Google server in the USA and stored there. Engel & Völkers uses Google Analytics solely with the extension "ga ('set', 'anonymizeIp', true)", in order to ensure that IP addresses are only processed in a shortened version and in order to prevent direct references to individual persons. Google may transfer data to third parties if this is prescribed by law or if third parties process these data on behalf of Google. Google will not publish the IP address of the user in connection with other Google data. Users may at any time prevent the recording and storage of data by Google Analytics, by installing a Google-approved browser plug-in which can be downloaded from the following link: https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout?hl=de.

b)       Universal Analytics

Engel & Völkers uses the Universal Analytics functions provided by Google. These functions allow Engel & Völkers to record and analyse socio-demographic data about users by means of a Google ID (if available) and by means of cookies generated by Google from advertising contents (DoubleClick). If a Google ID is available, the data controller will be able to record this data across all devices (e.g. if users have both a smartphone and a PC) for analysing visitor flows across all devices. Users may at any time prevent the recording and storage of data by Google Analytics by installing a Google-approved browser plug-in which can be downloaded from the following link: https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout?hl=de.

This website does not use profiling cookies.

Use of cookies and other tracking in the Property App

Engel & Völkers needs statistical information on the use of the Property App to make it more user-friendly. For this purpose, Engel & Völkers deploys the following analysis tools. The providers of the tools process data, where personal data are processed, as a processor in accordance with the instructions of Engel & Völkers.

To find out which other cookies the Property App uses click here: https://www.engelvoelkers.com/en-de/privacy-policy-ag/doc/ev_cookies_lp.pdf.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is provided by Google Inc., 1600 Amphitheater Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA (“Google”). We use Google Analytics with the additional feature offered by Google to anonymise IP addresses: In this case, Google's IP address is usually already shortened within the EU and only in exceptional cases in the US and in any case only saved in abbreviated form. The privacy policy can be viewed here: https://privacy.google.com/businesses/processorterms/

  

If you want to opt out of Google Analytics tracking, go to your system settings and disable Google Analytics access in the Tracking section of the “Engel & Völkers Property Search” app.

If you want to opt out of tracking Google Analytics on Android, go to the app settings and disable Google Analytics access.

HockeyApp

HockeyApp is provided by Microsoft (Microsoft Corporation, One Microsoft Way, Redmond, WA 98052-6399, USA). We use HockeyApp for error analyses and to improve the property app. If it crashes, the user may agree to submit a crash report to HockeyApp. A crash report includes information about the crash date and time, the affected software module, the operating system and language used, and the device type and IP address. The crash report will only be sent to HockeyApp once this has been specifically approved. The information contained in the crash report may be partially processed in the United States. HockeyApp is a service from Microsoft. Legal information about it can be found here: 

https://azure.microsoft.com/de-de/support/legal/.

The privacy policy can be viewed here: 

https://www.microsoft.com/de-de/privacystatement/OnlineServices/Default.aspx

Crashlytics

Crashlytics is an analysis tool offered and operated by Crashlytics Inc., based in Cambridge, MA, USA. Crashlytics generates crash reports, i.e. reports about malfunctions or failures of the app, where and in which context these have occurred, how many users of the app are affected, etc. Engel & Völkers uses these reports to detect malfunctions or failures to be able to react faster, more purposefully and more efficiently in the interests of the users and to be able to improve the app technically. For this purpose, Crashlytics, together with the user’s Symphony-related app ID, which can be deleted at any time, records data on the crash and on general data of the respective IT environment (in particular on the used device, the mobile service provider and the operating system). If personal or pseudonymous data is included, Crashlytics will delete it within seven days. This information will give Crashlytics and subsequently Engel & Völkers insight into whether and how the app works and is used, especially the malfunctions and failures that occur. Further information is available at try.crashlytics.com/terms/privacy-policy.pdf.

Links to social media pages

This website contains links to the main social media network sites (e.g. Facebook and Twitter). These are not embedded social media plug-ins, but a link through which no personal data is transmitted to the social media operators.

Rights of persons concerned

You have the right to information on the processing of your personal data (for example, the origin of this data, the processing purpose, the modalities of the data processing). Furthermore, on certain conditions, you are entitled, at any time, to object to data processing in the future, to limit it or to demand the deletion of the data. Finally, you can prevent the sending of advertising material or the implementation of market research or commercial communications at any time.

In summary, you have a right to

-       information,

-       correction,

-       deletion (or to be forgotten),

-       limitation of processing,

-       data portability,

-       objection to the processing of your personal data,

-       complaint to the supervisory authorities.

Please note that your right to deletion is subject to certain restrictions. For instance we need not or may not delete any data which we need to retain for a further period under a statutory retention period. Data needed by us for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims are also excepted from your right to deletion.

To exercise the above rights and to request information, users may write to the following e-mail address hongkongmmc@engelvoelkers.com[A12]  or postal address Engel & Völkers VJI Limited, [A13] Shop A, 95 Caine Road, Mid Level West, Hong Kong. Similarly, users may at any time withdraw consent to, correct and delete the processing of their data.

Contacts

The responsible authority for processing of data is Engel & Völkers VJI Limited, [A14] Shop A, 95 Caine Road, Mid Level West, Hong Kong. In the event of questions regarding our data processors, we are happy to make a current list of these available to you.

If you have a complaint regarding the way that we process your data, you have the opportunity to submit a complaint to the supervisory authority. This is: 

Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg

Hamburg’s representative for data protection and freedom of information

Prof. Dr. Johannes Caspar

Kurt-Schumacher-Allee 4, 20097 Hamburg

Mailbox@datenschutz.hamburg.de[A15] 

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