Simon Hughes calls for end to empty London second homes

Simon Hughes on the Andrew Marr show in 2011 Simon Hughes believes only those buying 'for their own use' should purchase property in central London

Related Stories

New powers should allow the mayor of London to restrict second homes being purchased by foreign investors, former mayoral candidate Simon Hughes said.

The Liberal Democrat deputy leader said some areas should be "off limits" to stop Londoners being priced out.

The Smith Institute reports that in the first half of 2011, 60% of newly built property in central London was bought by overseas investors.

The think tank said most foreign buyers were from the Far East.

'Critical issue'

Speaking to BBC London 94.9 Mr Hughes, MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, said: "There's no reason why we should allow people to invest in the homes that we need, not use them and force the prices up.

"The Smith Institute shows foreign investment now makes up two thirds of buyers in the prime London market."

The think tank's July report, 'London for sale?' reads: "Although not the only challenge facing the private housing market in London, the level and nature of overseas investment is a critical issue for policymakers to get to grips with.

"The surge in overseas investment in London homes will exacerbate the fall in home ownership, which is already down to 53.5% as opposed to 66% for England."

Mr Hughes said that other countries including Switzerland and China had successfully introduced requirements whereby permission has to be granted before somebody "outside of the country" can buy.

London is the top city in the world for foreign investment, according to accounting firm KPMG.

Research by property advisory firm Jones Lang LaSalle names London's as the most traded real estate market in the world since 2008.

The proposal is one of a series of housing policies to be put forward at the Liberal Democrats' conference in Brighton next month.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC London



9 °C 3 °C


  • Mukesh SinghNo remorse

    Delhi bus rapist says victim shouldn't have fought back

  • Aimen DeanI spied

    The founder member of al-Qaeda who worked for MI6

  • Before and after shotsPerfect body

    Just how reliable are 'before and after' photos?

  • A man shutting his eyes tightlyStrange light show

    What do you see when you close your eyes?

  • Lotus 97T driven by Elio de AngelisBeen and Gone

    A champion F1 designer and other notable losses

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.