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Is Southwark Council moving out Londoners with new luxury housing developments?

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Saturday 29 March 2014 8.12am
I'm not exactly sure how one could frame a law preventing speculators buying up huge chunks of new developments, specially if they arefrom overseas. In our block (Metro Central) the original project was sold heavily in Hong Kong just before it was going to be returned to China and the Hong Kong Chinese were desperate to get their money out - mostly to London and Vancouver. And there was an Irishman who bought FORTY flats, and then sold them five years later. Maybe what we need is at least a cap on the number of flats that can be sold to non residents. After all noone can live in forty flats!!
Saturday 29 March 2014 8.43am
In MCH years ago the landowner St George applied to build a new block on top of our existing car park, cue furious appeals from the residents and Southwark refused.

We then got letters stating on appeal the planning application had been passed. What appeal we thought ? The letters notifying residents of St Georges appeal ( and indicating how to appeal, the meeting date etc ) were never sent so no one here literally knew of this.

I phoned up Adele Morris as this was pretty shocking and fairly obvious what had happened who was only full of sorries. Pretty obvious what happened eh.
TAK
Sunday 30 March 2014 11.20am
hhrca wrote:

I love it when the council goes on about 'high maintenance'.... A few months ago when querying senior housing staff how the council could justify charging Draper leaseholders 35,000 for major works each yet looking at the building was not showing any signs of such serious investment we were told that on 'high maintenance blocks' such as Draper one would never see the true amount of money having been invested, as they are such high maintenance and just swallow up money.
A few months later we receive the Arup report regarding exterior cleaning commissioned following severe complaints to council following the badly executed cleaning of Draper House. Arup stated Draper was a low maintenance block which was evident in the fact how little exterior maintenance it had received over the years etc. etc. and just going on about staining 'only' being an aesthetic issue not having any impact of structure of building etc.
I was glad to see that Arup clearly stated Draper to be low maintenance, despite council officials thinking otherwise.
I am however concerned to learn hat aesthetics don't matter in a regeneration area....I wonder if anyone buying in one the elephant knows about that as we're right opposite them....
Zoe
Sunday 30 March 2014 5.03pm
I suspect these new blocks will become high maintenance in fifty years, they really don't look like they have been built to last.
Sunday 30 March 2014 6.29pm
jackie rokotnitz wrote:
I'm not exactly sure how one could frame a law preventing speculators buying up huge chunks of new developments, specially if they arefrom overseas. In our block (Metro Central) the original project was sold heavily in Hong Kong just before it was going to be returned to China and the Hong Kong Chinese were desperate to get their money out - mostly to London and Vancouver. And there was an Irishman who bought FORTY flats, and then sold them five years later. Maybe what we need is at least a cap on the number of flats that can be sold to non residents. After all noone can live in forty flats!!

My God, the temerity of it, an Irishman was permitted to purchase a significant amount of property in London. Perhaps it was one for each of his (no doubt) stupendous number of children. I fail to see what nationality has to do with this; if I replaced "Irishman" with a person's colour or creed there would undoubtedly be a (justifiable) outcry.

Perhaps we should all be allocated a certain number of square feet and ban all holiday property and second homes.

If there's an issue it should be about leaving homes empty, not about the ownership (and certainly not about selling locations or nationality).
Sunday 30 March 2014 6.45pm
marcusm wrote:
jackie rokotnitz wrote:
I'm not exactly sure how one could frame a law preventing speculators buying up huge chunks of new developments, specially if they arefrom overseas. In our block (Metro Central) the original project was sold heavily in Hong Kong just before it was going to be returned to China and the Hong Kong Chinese were desperate to get their money out - mostly to London and Vancouver. And there was an Irishman who bought FORTY flats, and then sold them five years later. Maybe what we need is at least a cap on the number of flats that can be sold to non residents. After all noone can live in forty flats!!

My God, the temerity of it, an Irishman was permitted to purchase a significant amount of property in London. Perhaps it was one for each of his (no doubt) stupendous number of children. I fail to see what nationality has to do with this; if I replaced "Irishman" with a person's colour or creed there would undoubtedly be a (justifiable) outcry.

Perhaps we should all be allocated a certain number of square feet and ban all holiday property and second homes.

If there's an issue it should be about leaving homes empty, not about the ownership (and certainly not about selling locations or nationality).

Isn't it a bit petty to pick on the "Irishman" bit, out of context as well? The point of Jackie's post as I understand is not primarily about the fact that the Irishman bought the flats, but who many someone bought that happened to be an Irishman.
Sunday 30 March 2014 8.04pm
Exactly Edward Woodward, the point was that the guy bought FORTY FLATS. OK he was Irish, not Russian or Chinese or Qatari, but Ireland is overseas even if it is closer, and this was obviously a purchase for get-rich-quick aims, and not for use. Indeed he never lived in the block.
Sunday 30 March 2014 10.42pm
The casual xenophobia is unattractive.

Jackie's position, however, demonstrates a significant naivety; is it the case that he should only have been allowed to buy one flat and then only on the proviso that he lived in it?

The availability of development finance (raised through pre sales) is important to ensure that developments can proceed. The UK market is notoriously short of such finance - long term investors such as pension funds and insurance companies do not participate to the extent that they should (based on their long term connection to GBP liabilities). Equally UK prospective resident purchasers are rarely able to commit to purchase 2 years out because of their inability to obtain a mortgage commitment for the build period. Without such sales (and I suspect the developer is genuinely ambivalent as to whether they are domestic or foreign), developments cannot proceed.

Equally, your shock that someone should purchase 40 flats ignores that the private rented market is incredibly important in the functioning of a modern city such as London. One where there is a need to provide rental accommodation (at an appropriate price) for students, the host of new graduates and others who are starting out in their careers or who cannot or will not be able to raise mortgage finance. The UK obsession with owning property and the "property ladder" concept is one which prices people out - the ambition for profit to fund a step up the ladder drives price raises and introduces price volatility which might be smoothed by a larger more institutionally based private rental sector (as opposed to a diffused buy to let with lots of small landlords).

Don't think that I am some neo liberal rampant capitalist; personally I disagree with the policy of "right to buy" for council homes and I think that the sale of the Heygate was idiotic - in terms of the use of the CPO and the financial terms. If nothing else, better value could have been obtained by creating an estate for oligarch's along the lines of the Bishop's Avenue.

The key issue as I see it is the empty homes syndrome. If more homes are built using foreign funding and those properties are either let or sold they will not contribute to rampant house price inflation. The use of cheaper or more available foreign capital will provide more supply which should result in price reductions (assuming demand is unaffected).

Empty homes serving as a deposit for hot money is the thing which introduces unfairness and instability not the source of the money.
Sunday 30 March 2014 11.04pm
marcusm wrote:
The casual xenophobia is unattractive

The deliberate, false accusation of xenophobia is more than just unattractive. If you don't (want to) understand a point people are making, maybe you should not engage in a debate.
Sunday 30 March 2014 11.32pm
eDWaRD WooDWaRD wrote:
marcusm wrote:
The casual xenophobia is unattractive

The deliberate, false accusation of xenophobia is more than just unattractive. If you don't (want to) understand a point people are making, maybe you should not engage in a debate.

But that is what it was; underlined by the fact that the response to my calling it out was not to acknowledge that it should just be read as "investor" but reinforcing the point by stating that Ireland is foreign even if not so far away as Russia, China or Qatar.

A plurality, if not a majority, of those living in central London are of recent foreign extraction (me included). The "Irishman" in question may very well have arrived here in the 1960s working on the roads and building works and built up wealth through hard work. The fact that such money is used to permit building or development of homes is not necessarily to be derided - was it the case that his purchase denied 40 people the opportunity to buy homes, I very much doubt it.
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