The “buy-to-leave” phenomenon in housing has come into question after a report commissioned by the Mayor of London found that almost no homes in London owned by overseas buyers are being left empty.
The research, by the London School of Economics, found that “there was almost no evidence of units being left entirely empty – certainly less than 1pc”.
Mayor Sadiq Khan campaigned on the issue of foreign ownership during his election campaign, arguing that developers should give Londoners “first dibs” on homes. The LSE report is one of the first investigations into foreign investment into London property, which has been blamed by some campaigners for exacerbating the capital’s housing crisis.
He added that this level could continue to be strong. “The 2016 number is what’s being completed now, rather than what’s being sold now, and I suspect that’s fallen back now with the challenges of the market.”
It also found that three-fifths of all overseas sales in London were made by people or companies from just four countries in south-east Asia: Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and China.
Around half of property bought by overseas buyers during the period cost under £500,000, suggesting that it is not just concentrated in the most expensive areas of the city. Areas of the capital where there were the highest levels of foreign investment were Westminster, Tower Hamlets and Greenwich. Read more…