Stephen Greenhalgh: "Buy to leave" investors are pricing Londoners out of the property market - this is how I'd tackle it

Stephen Greenhalgh
Follow Stephen
Much of London property market seems to have been reserved for the super rich (Source: Getty)
Often it is the non doms in London who are given a really bad press for inflating the property market. However I believe that it is the "non res" rather than the non dom that London should really worry about.
The global non resident super rich see London residential property as a holiday home in the greatest and safest city on earth. The non res are the “buy to leave empty” and do not appear to pay their way. Only very recently did they start to pay capital gains tax on their UK property, so for decades the property in London was also a tax free investment.
Much of London property market seems to have been reserved for the super rich but there are ways to tackle this problem and enable Londoners who live and work here to get onto the housing ladder.
I recommend that the chancellor and my friend, the chief secretary to the Treasury Greg Hands, look at introducing taxation of capital gains made by non res corporate developers of UK residential property. They currently do not pay tax on the development gain.
These tax revenues, which would come from all developments, could be recycled into providing help for young Londoners to own their home of more affordable housing for essential city workers - the people that keep the city alive. Why should some developers have a special tax status? We need to have a level playing field.
My concern over these “buy to leave” investors is why I have already committed as part of my “home ownership” blueprint.
Under this plan, only those who have lived or worked in the capital for at least three years would be able to buy new homes built on public land. A similar condition would apply to housing associations and developers receiving Greater London Authority funding.
This would reserve new homes for Londoners, and help those who live and work in the capital to get a foot onto the housing ladder.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

Related articles