Our Mayor is investigating foreign property investment in London - who invests, where the money comes from etc. - and that is welcome.
As stated in the Guardian article, foreign investment has been key in building more houses in London and across the country, and in subsidising affordable housing as explains Yolande Barnes for Savilles. She also argues that land scarcity is the real issue, more than foreign investment.
Although this is a valid comment, building luxury residential towers in central London that remain empty most of the year will not improve the availability of land.
Something I find worrying from reading this article (besides the possibility that most of my peers and I may have to leave London at some point due to the unaffordability of property in the capital) is the confidence in long-term Chinese investment in the UK property market.
The yuan currency crisis earlier this year shows that Chinese currency stability and economic growth - and therefore potential investors' wealth - may not be forever.
Sadiq Khan's inquiry will help understand and clarify these investment mechanisms, but unfortunately a comprehensive inquiry doesn't mean a straightforward policy solution. However, I believe we would be foolish to believe in an infinite investment potential from China, and doing so will probably mean even more empty towers, displacement and gentrification in the coming decades.
Khan said: “We urgently need more transparency around overseas money invested in London property. Londoners need reassuring that dirty money isn’t flooding into our property market, and ministers must now make all property ownership in London transparent so we can see exactly who owns what.”