MP wants to see restrictions on foreigners buying new homes in London
Simon Hughes MP is urging the government to restrict the number of new homes in London sold to overseas investors. The Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats wants to see greater controls introduced to ensure that new homes are offered to British nationals before being sold off to foreign buyers, in a bid to alleviate the mounting supply-demand imbalance in the capital.
Despite the shortage of new homes in London in relation to domestic demand, many housebuilders continue to sell new homes to overseas nationals rather than to purchasers in the UK. It is estimated that in excess of 5,000 of the 7,000 new-build properties in London last year were sold to buyers overseas.
Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP Mr Hughes says: "I resent the fact that when we have such a housing crisis in London, and so much unmet demand, that so many of our homes are being marketed abroad and sold abroad before Londoners have a chance."
However, Mr Hughes' proposal has been rejected by some property professionals, including Naomi Heaton, CEO of London Central Portfolio. "London is a financial centre, a ‘go-to' destination, a pinnacle of culture and a centre of excellence and, as both Mr Hughes and LPP point out, the international appetite for properties here is vast," she says, adding: "Whilst it is undeniable that international demand has put an upward pressure on prices, the view championed by Simon Hughes that this tiny area of London should be ‘given back' to Londoners, is undoubtedly flawed."
Rather than restrict new homes sales, Heaton believes that more should be done to help housebuilders boost the supply of new homes in London. She continues: "The intense adverse focus on such a small sector which contributes so significantly to the UK economy would seem to be politically motivated rather than economically driven or statistically assessed. It acts to divert attention from the real issue on how to provide more housing and in so doing, the government runs the risk of killing the golden goose."