How Foreign Property Buyers Are Affecting London’s Voting Base best design for your Home
There’s been lots of talk about overseas buyers investing in property in London, with reports showing that some 75 percent of new homes in prime London were purchased by foreigners over the last year and 49 percent of all properties worth more than £1 million in Central London during the same period. So that equals 25% of new homes where purchased by the common English man or women. And 51% off houses worth over £1 million where purchased by an English man or women, probably bankers, lawyers or wall street traders.
An interesting perspective to take on this influx of overseas buyers is the affect it will have on voting patterns, with many homes in central boroughs such as Westminster, being empty; simply used as investments to be sold later for a profit. It’s now come to light that electoral registration data shows that more than 2,000 voters have disappeared from five wards in Westminster in the past 12 years. Figures show that the biggest fall has been in Knightsbridge and Belgravia, with 11 percent fewer voters than 2002. In the West End ward, which covers Mayfair and Soho, there are 498 fewer registered voters – a drop of seven percent.
The reason behind these dwindling numbers is that the buyers are from Asian countries, such as China, Russia and Central Asia and are using London property as a secure haven for their money. Only UK, EU or Commonwealth citizens can register to vote, so as this super prime property in Westminster is often sold in countries such as Hong Kong and Dubai, there’s been an increasing affect on the voter base in main parts of the UK capital.
This is all part of the buy-to-leave phenomenon, with prices of empty housing soaring higher and higher. Across London there are some 72,457 empty homes, of which 24,226 are classified as long-term empty, according to data. This reduction of voters in key areas comes despite an increase in the number of homes over the last decade or so. Between 2001 and 2011, 4,209 new dwellings were made available, according to census data; however the number of voters registered between 2002 and 2014 fell by 2,118.
The snapping up of prime London property by overseas buyers who then don’t live in them and don’t really participate in local communities (although this is open to debate as arguably during peak times foreign investors bring in a lot of activity and money ) is a sensitive issue. Political parties have jumped to make capital of the problem, with Labour pledging to stop foreign investors from buying new homes in the UK until local people have been offered them first. The Liberal Democrat communities minister, Stephen Williams, has recently announced a new empty-homes premium; this allows councils to remove the tax subsidies being given to empty homes.
As to how the situation plays out only time will tell. With property prices rising exponentially it’s likely to become a hot topic leading up to the election year and beyond.
Author : Gurleen Jhooti is a investment blogger based in London, she works with many different companys doing investment and property writing for them including an estate agents in Belgravia.
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