Housebuilders urged to sell to Londoners first

Kasmira Jefford
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ref="">BORIS Johnson has urged housebuilders and developers to sign up to a new deal to stop giving buyers living abroad the first chance to buy London homes sold before they’re built, in a bid to get more Londoners onto the housing ladder.

Speaking at Mipim, the property industry’s annual conference in Cannes yesterday, the London Mayor said that 50 companies – including the UK’s second biggest landlord British Land and Capital & Counties, the group regenerating Earl’s Court – have agreed to market their homes to Londoners first, or at least at the same time as overseas.

“There can be no doubt that the cost of getting on the London housing ladder is higher than at any time in recent memory and the sense of frustration is growing, and many people feel a sense of particular rage about one thing – that there are times when new homes in London are actually being marketed overseas before Londoners get a look in,” Johnson told the conference.

“It cannot be right that people in great Asian capitals should be able to look at images of new London properties and put down cash – before Londoners even know that the opportunity is there,” he added.

Overseas investors have piled into London’s property market, with some critics blaming the influx of investment for driving up average prices, despite targeting a very specific prime part of the market.

But Johnson said that without overseas investment, schemes such as Qatari Diar’s redevelopment of the Olympic Village, which is delivering 50 per cent affordable housing, would not have been achievable.

A report released today by Cushman & Wakefield said €63.8bn (£53.2bn) was invested in the London commercial property market in 2013, up 52.9 per cent on the previous year.