London mayor, Sadiq Khan, has asked the London School of Economics to carry out a comprehensive inquiry into the impact of foreign investment on London’s housing market.
The inquiry which is expected to report back to the Mayor in the spring will investigate the dependence of property developers on foreign buyers and the number of properties kept empty.
Sadiq Khan is keen however to stress that the report is not intended to provide material which might be used to curtail the rights of overseas buyers in London. Announcing the study, the Mayor underlined the importance of foreign investment in London but also noted that further study was needed to understand the connection between London’s property affordability crisis and foreign investment. The Mayor added that many Londoners were concerned about the number of homes left empty and the link between empty properties and overseas investors.
The current study follows numerous reports that London is being used as a safe-haven for Russian Oligarchs, Chinese Princelings and Middle Eastern Sheikhs. Many properties in the capital are held by companies in offshore tax havens and many are unoccupied. Khan’s predecessor in City Hall, Boris Johnson, notably called for property developers to market new homes “first or equal first” to Londoners rather than to overseas buyers.