A towering monument to the housing crisis

2 June 2016, Blog

An investigation by the Guardian has revealed that the tallest residential building in the UK, situated on the river Thames at Vauxhall, is more than 60% foreign owned, with 25% of all flats in it held by offshore firms. In its exclusive the Guardian recognises that “the revelations about the Tower are likely to be seized on by campaigners and politicians as the starkest example yet of the housing crisis gripping the capital”, and since the article was published last week politicians old and new from both sides of the chamber have come out attacking the foreign buy-up as “deplorable” and “all for the toffs”.

Interviewed on Peston on Sunday, new Mayor of London Sadiq Khan vowed he would impose new rules limiting the sale of homes to foreign investors who leave the properties empty. Khan would allow Londoners ‘first dibs’ on new property by forcing developers to market the dwellings in the capital for the first six months in order to receive permission to build. In the interview, Khan said “we shouldn’t be embarrassed of saying our homes are homes, not gold bricks for investment for investors in the Middle East and Asia.”

These claims will be of no surprise to regular readers of Capital Letters, who will remember that of all the property acquired by overseas companies in England and Wales from 2005 – July 2014, 40% of them were located in the capital (as reported by Private Eye).

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