‘Foreign buyer’ focus will not fix housing | Letters

Will McMahon says it’s tax-avoidance schemes that are the real problem, while John Worrall believes punitive council tax on empty homes will help

The repeated reference to “foreign buyers” in your editorial (6 January) as a key driver of the housing crisis, is in danger of misdirecting readers, as well as giving succour to populist narratives. It is not “foreignness” that housing policy needs to address, but the financialisation of the housing market, which has led to residential property being used as a wealth store or investment vehicle without the need to house anyone at all.

Recent academic analysis of the problem in Kensington and Chelsea shows that, in terms of property value, three-quarters of properties bought by overseas buyers in the borough are owned by entities registered in the British Virgin Islands, Jersey and Guernsey. This may indicate that it is the use of offshore vehicles for tax avoidance by UK residents, rather than London falling into the grips of Russian or Chinese billionaires, that the government needs to tackle.
Will McMahon
Director, Action on Empty Homes

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Source: the guardian – property
‘Foreign buyer’ focus will not fix housing | Letters