Something for the new Mayor of London to sort out

Oh how we hate this selling of new homes in London to “buy to leave empty” investors overseas. This is a plea to the Mayor of London to do something about it.

Read The Guardian’s news story, 200 Flats Worth £140m Sold In Just Four Hours and the Independent’s take on it here.

Surely it should be seen as nothing short of an outrage? In the same week when a report shows that renting a home in London takes up an average of 70% of a renter’s pay this should be seen as nothing short of an outrage. I bleedin’ well hate these simultaneous launches in Hong Kong and London and the scale of the “buy to leave empty” scenario that results. Is there anything more urgent to address in London right now than the affordable housing both to rent and buy? I am going to vote for the mayoral candidate who looks like they are going to wade in and be radical.

Maine Tower Canary Wharf Blog

I don’t need to say much in this blog…these extracts from the articles say it all:

“Devel­oper Gal­liard said the off-plan sales were made at two events – one in Lon­don and one in Hong Kong – and half the prop­er­ties sold went to over­seas buy­ers, still keen for a stake in the UK mar­ket.”

“Galliard said that some of these overseas purchasers were parents buying for their children when they come to study in London, while others bought flats as pied-a-terres and others for investment purposes.”

Chi­nese buy­ers are turn­ing to over­seas prop­erty as a safe haven for their money fol­low­ing a slump in the coun­try’s stock mar­ket, and 50 prop­er­ties were snapped up in Hong Kong. In Lon­don 158 were taken by a broad range of pur­chasers. There were a num­ber of Greek buy­ers, as well as other Euro­pean in­vestors and buy­ers from In­dia and the far east”

Ac­cord­ing to the Land Registry the av­er­age Lon­don home now costs £476,000 and ac­coun­tants KPMG re­cently said first-time buy­ers needed to earn £77,000 to get on the hous­ing lad­der in Lon­don. Three months ago the hous­ing char­ity Shel­ter iden­ti­fied just 43 fam­ily houses in Greater Lon­don that were classed as af­ford­able.”

Maine Tower Canary Wharf Blog

“Gal­liard said some sales were made to par­ents buy­ing for their stu­dent chil­dren and that a num­ber of over­seas buy­ers had bought more than one apart­ment.”

“Tracy Kel­lett, a buy­ing agent for wealthy clients, said new-build homes re­mained par­tic­u­larly ap­peal­ing to over­seas buy­ers, who rarely come to view be­fore they buy.

“Prop­erty ex­pert Henry Pryor said de­vel­op­ers were sell­ing homes to over­seas buy­ers in or­der to fi­nance the com­ple­tion of the build­ings be­ing sold. “To do this de­vel­op­ers will pre-sell some prop­er­ties, but these can only be bought by peo­ple who don’t need a mort­gage – a mort­gage of­fer only has a six-month shelf life,” he said.

“The big­gest mar­ket of cash buy­ers for these kinds of prop­er­ties are over­seas, so this is where the de­vel­op­ers, agents and lawyers go book­ing ho­tel lob­bies in for­eign cap­i­tals and sell­ing what is re­ally a ster­ling currency op­tion dressed up in bricks and mor­tar.”

All in all this makes miserable reading.