(Bloomberg) -- Chinese restaurants are increasingly flocking to Hong Kong, giving a lift to the property market, according to realtor Midland IC&I.

The food-and-beverage industry is bringing in the most occupants to the city’s four core shopping areas, with Chinese eateries seeing the biggest growth, data from Midland show. There were 36 more such restaurants in the first quarter than in the third quarter of last year, while those serving non-Chinese cuisines declined by 18.

A growing trend of Hong Kong people traveling to mainland China has made residents more keen to eat the cuisine at restaurants when they return home, Lieman Leung, a director at Midland, said at a media briefing on Monday. That has prompted more brands from the mainland to expand to the city, Leung said. 

Hong Kong’s retail property market is also being helped by the return of tourists after the pandemic. The vacancy rate in Central, Tsim Sha Tsui, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok dropped to 9.6% in the first quarter, the lowest in more than three years. 

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