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Khan Turns Eyes to London Properties’ Bubble | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan leaves Southwark Cathedral in London, Britain, May 7, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

London- London Mayor Sadiq Khan is to launch the UK’s most comprehensive inquiry into the impact of foreign investment flooding London’s housing market.

Khan said there are “real concerns” about the surge in the number of homes being bought by overseas investors, adding that the inquiry would map the scale of the problem for the first time.

London Mayor added: “We welcome investment from around the world in building new homes, including those for first-time buyers. At the same time, as more and more Londoners struggle to get on the property ladder, there are real concerns about the prospect of a surge in the number of homes being bought by overseas investors.”

“We urgently need more transparency around overseas money invested in London property. Londoners need reassuring that dirty money isn’t flooding into our property market, and ministers must now make all property ownership in London transparent so we can see exactly who owns what,” he continued.

Yolande Barnes, director of Savills’ world research department, said foreign buyers accounted for only 7% of property purchased across Greater London, although that figure is likely to be higher in inner-London hotspots.

“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,” added Barnes.

However, a recent study by academics at London’s Goldsmiths University found that the influx of cash into the capital’s luxury housing market from the global super-rich was having a wider impact on gentrification across the city.

The study showed that foreign investment at the top end had pushed London’s “traditional elite” residents from their wealthy enclaves in places such as Mayfair, Chelsea and Hampstead, and created a “trickle down” effect – raising prices beyond the reach of most people in previously cheaper London neighborhoods.