It is estimated that almost three quarters of new central London homes are now owned by overseas buyers. High levels of foreign ownership in the capital’s super-prime property market has become a divisive issue.
The New York Times recently suggested that London’s spiraling housing costs can be largely attributed to its property becoming a form of global reserve currency. Many have expressed concern that locals are being priced out of the market and should be prioritised ahead of overseas buyers. The Chancellor has announced a new capital gains tax on foreign property investment effective from 2015. At the same time, supporters estimate that new housing development in London would be 40 per cent lower without the current levels of foreign investment, whilst the Mayor continues to court finance from around the globe. The National Housing Federation reports that in fact overseas buyers account for the same proportion of London purchases as they did in 1990.
We’ll be bringing together experts and representatives from across sectors to ask to what extent the influx of foreign money has led to London’s property bubble, and whether this is cause for celebration or concern. How is it affecting housing beyond the city centre, and where should housing policy go from here?