Corbyn and Labour are peddling the idea that there are vast numbers of empty foreign-owned properties across London. Awkward truth bullet: the experts say this trope is a myth. The overwhelming majority of overseas-owned property is rented on the UK market or occupied by the owner’s family members. As for new builds, an LSE report commissioned by London mayor Sadiq Khan last year found less than 1% are so-called ‘buy to leave’ investments. There is “almost no evidence” that luxury properties in ‘gentrified’ areas are bought up and kept empty.
As Neal Hudson of housing market researchers Resi Analysts explains:
“[Foreign buyers are] not ultra-wealthy overseas Russian oligarchs or from Middle Eastern oil money. There are quite a lot of people who are using mortgage debt from south-east Asia to buy… It’s the newly emerging middle classes in Asia getting in on this, who are not any wealthier or poorer than those [British] first-time buyers looking to buy.”
Yolande Barnes, director of Savills world research department, says:
“Foreign buyers are often the focus in discussions about the housing crisis, but really they are only one element in an incredibly complicated picture. Without them investing in properties at the top end, we would not have been able to fund very much social or affordable housing since the financial crash.”
The LSE research found buying a home to leave it empty was almost at the bottom of purchasers’ priorities. As Guido said yesterday this is populist left-wing virtue signalling from Corbyn. The Grenfell victims can be accommodated without his fake expropriations of empty foreign properties…