A number of Britain’s largest property developers and housebuilders have pledged to give London-based buyers “first dibs” on their new-build London homes.
The news, which follows a campaign led by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, will ensure that, for the first month they are on sale, only London residents will be able to make offers on their ‘low-cost’ new-build properties.
During the following two months, only potential buyers who are currently living in the UK will be able to make enquiries – while foreign investors will have no access to the properties until their third month on the market.
Housebuilders including Barratt London, Redrow, Berkley Homes and Taylor Wimpey have all agreed to take part in the scheme, which covers any of their new ‘low-cost’ London properties valued up to £350,000.
The idea is that the initiative will help aspiring London homeowners to get a foot on the property ladder in a market increasingly dominated by overseas investment.
Announcing the scheme, Sadiq Khan said that he was “determined to take meaningful steps to help Londoners buy more new homes they can afford.”
He cited recent research commissioned by himself last year, which argued that young Londoners were being “squeezed out of the market” by the increase in foreign investors spurred on by the weak value of sterling in recent years.
It estimated that around 50 per cent of new-build properties in Central London were homes under £500,000 – a large proportion of which were being purchased predominantly by investors.
However, a number of property industry commentators and politicians have criticised Mr Khan’s move.
For example, Caroline Pidgeon, of the Liberal Democrats, said that the initiative was “yet another voluntary scheme” which will “mean little in practice if an insufficient number of homes are actually being built in the first place.”
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