High Net Worth Club

Meeting: 
MQT on 2014-03-19
Session date: 
March 19, 2014
Reference: 
2014/1366
Question By: 
Jenny Jones
Organisation: 
City Hall Greens
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

Will you instruct London & Partners to drop proposals to encourage wealthy investors to buy up luxury property in London?

Answer

Answer for High Net Worth Club

Answer for High Net Worth Club

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Jenny, I can give you a very short answer to this: there is no such proposal to encourage wealthy investors to buy luxury properties in London, therefore the answer is I will do whatever you want in this respect; however you have nothing to worry about.

 

Jenny Jones AM:  I just wish that were true.  However, London & Partners gets funding from the GLA and you sign off their business plan and when you went to China, London & Partners sent out information to partners from the luxury property sector and they were encouraging club members to buy up property in London.  That is speculating, is it not, here in London?  That means it is harder and harder for Londoners to buy a house or even rent a property if you have rich investors coming in, buying up properties, and speculating on our housing market.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  There are several questions in there.  Yes, it is true that London is attracting a great deal of international investment and we are certainly seeing overseas money coming into the London property market.  It is still true however, that by market value, total sales in London to overseas buyers are running at about 6.5%, and by number of homes it is only at about 3%.  In those figures, by the way, are included buyers for instance from the Republic of Ireland and I am sure that you would not want to discriminate against international investors in our city.

 

Where I think there is a legitimate concern is when in some prime areas I think there is a phenomenon now, and actually there has been for some time, of homes being unoccupied for a long time.  You saw that in the pictures in Bishops Avenue and those were disgraceful.  Empty homes as a whole are not running at high levels.  You are asking a lot of connected questions here, however you could do something to deter under-occupation.

 

Jenny Jones AM:  My concern is that you are promoting London as a place where it is going to be profitable to speculate in property.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  No, I do not, that is completely untrue.

 

Jenny Jones AM:  This means it makes it harder.  I do not want to discriminate against anybody from outside the UK; however I think you are discriminating against Londoners ‑‑

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  No.

 

Jenny Jones AM:  ‑‑ who cannot afford the housing that is in London at the moment.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  That is complete nonsense.  As I said in my opening statement, we have a concordat for the first time with developers that they will market homes in London first, and that is exactly right.

 

Jenny Jones AM:  Your club, your High Net Worth Club, is just attracting rich ‑‑

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I do not have a High Net Worth Club.

 

Jenny Jones AM:  You have set it up.

 

Darren Johnson AM (Chair):  A quick response to this because the Green Group are running out of time.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb or wherever, do you have a second property anywhere?

 

Jenny Jones AM:  I do not live in Moulsecoomb anymore sadly.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Do you have a second property anywhere?

 

Jenny Jones AM:  I have a bungalow.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  What about the people living in that village.  They resent people who are affluent tiers of the realm from London, coming in and buying up their scarce properties.

 

Jenny Jones AM:  Can I just point out that the idea is that we ask you questions?  We ask you questions and you answer us.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Leaving it vacant while they are pretending to be serving as members of the London Assembly but lights darkthe whole time.  That home could be used by young people in Devon and there you are inflating the property market in Devon, ruthlessly --

 

Darren Johnson (Chair):  The green group are now out of time.  Before we get carried away on the housing market and Dorset and the southwest of England.  Green Group are now out of time.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Driving out young people from Devon where you have your second property, leaving it.  I think it is a disgrace.

 

Darren Johnson AM (Chair):  All right, we then move on to the next question on the order paper, which is our statutory question on Croydon, in the name of Assembly Member O’Connell.