Londoners are railing against the consistently rising property prices which have reached a mark where only rich foreign investors from Middle East and Asia are able to afford.
As foreign property investments become more common globally, countries are finding the need to regulate the property market and it ultimately comes down to the question of priorities. Taking notes from the US real estate bubble a decade ago, Australia and Singapore have both recently made policy adjustments to guard against excessive financial loans and foreign purchases on local properties.
London’s new mayor may also be lobbying to make moves to allow residents to purchase new properties ahead of foreign investors who have been snapping up units with fervour, with prices rapidly rising over the years. The average price of a home in London now costs approximately S$1.2 million and rental for a flat in central London can easily be S$2,700 per month. 20 per cent of home sales in Kensington and Chelsea are from foreign buyers and for new properties, the numbers can come up to as much as 75 per cent, with almost 67 per cent of them purchasing purely for investment purposes.
Though some of these foreign buyers are purchasing units to rent out, some are owned by shell companies who leave the units empty on end, taking away essential numbers of available homes for London’s residents when they are already only rolling out half of the 50,000 new homes required each year.
With similar high-population versus limited land issues, Singapore’s average private home prices could easily rival that in London. While income growth lags behind other first world cities, living expenses are not necessarily remaining stagnant, will the country’s government need to revise their strategies in keeping homes affordable?