In the last three years £8billion of property in London was bought by offshore companies.
The purchases were just in the boroughs of Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea and Camden – there were others throughout the city not yet calculated.
Land Registry data does not disclose the ultimate owners of the London property bought by offshore firms, and David Cameron has no plans to lift the shroud of secrecy surrounding their identities.
‘Our communities are being ripped apart by Russian oligarchs, Saudi sheiks, Israeli scumbag property developers, Texan oil-money twats and Eton toffs’
It was revealed earlier this year many of the offshore companies’ bosses are, unsurprisingly, arms dealers, oligarchs and money launderers.
Donald Toon, director of economic crime at the National Crime Agency, has said foreign criminals are using the London housing market to launder billions of pounds, pushing up house prices for wannabe domestic buyers.
He said, “I believe the London property market has been skewed by laundered money. Prices are being artificially driven up by overseas criminals who want to sequester their assets here in the UK.”
In response to the findings David Cameron said in July, “There is no place in Britain for dirty money.” He promised to publish details of the property titles held by offshore companies, but even if this were to happen it would still fall far short of enabling offshore-owned property to be immediately identifiable.
The mess of dirty money flooding London was part of the backdrop to an anti-gentrification in London’s Shoreditch in September. A riot called the Fuck Parade was organised by anarchist group Class War. On the event page on Facebook organising the riot – in which local business including a ‘café’ selling bowls of cereal for £4 were attacked – said, ‘Our communities are being ripped apart by Russian oligarchs, Saudi sheiks, Israeli scumbag property developers, Texan oil-money twats and our own home-grown Eton toffs. Local authorities are coining it in, in a short-sighted race for cash by “regenerating” social housing.’
London’s property corruption has seen gems such as this being taken seriously by buyers: a ramshackle garage next to a south London industrial estate. It sold for £550,000 last year after a frenzied bidding war.
And for rent? Earlier this year a bed in a shared kitchen in Kingston-Upon-Thames was advertised for £400 a month.
Lunatic housing prices in the capital has left millions asking if they will ever be able to afford a home in the city.
Instead of moaning, take our simple two-step questionnaire below that will almost immediately tell you if you have a chance of ever getting on the property ladder in London.
Answer Yes or No to the below
Are you a dictator, oligarch, Saudi ‘businessman’, royalty, aristocracy, or arms dealer?
Do you control an offshore company?
Do you expect to inherit a house from a relative?
Are you a millionaire celebrity?
Did you win £2million or more on the Lottery?
(You now have a 45 million to one chance of winning a jackpot under its new rules.)
Would you be happy if a teenager in a building society said you need to earn at least £250,000 to buy a bedsit?
Do you want to die in a rented flat worth £600,000 owned by someone in Dubai who puts up your rent arbitrarily every year through a sour-faced jobs worth management company ‘account executive’?
If you answered ‘No’ to one or more of the above, there is a two-word, government-sponsored answer to the question, “Can I afford a house in London?”: fuck off.
Loaded freelance reporter Ian Wade writes about music and TV for newspapers and websites. He is also a music publicist. Follow him on Twitter at @WadeyWade