The notion that property in prime areas of central London is being snapped up by foreign investors who leave those homes empty is untrue.
Attacking the Labour Party’s plans to introduce a mansion tax on properties worth over £2m, estate agent Ed Mead warns: “When the top end of the property market suffers, it has a trickle-down effect. Pretending otherwise is a dangerous exercise in head burying.”
The executive director of property firm Douglas & Gordon points out that property owners spend a lot more in their local area and have a major impact on businesses beyond those associated with property.
Figures from the Office for Budget Responsibility show a projected reduction of £600m in stamp duty revenue this year, £1.7bn next year and £2bn the year after. “If the top 1% of taxpayers contribute over 25% of all tax collected by the government, it’s not rocket science to extrapolate that these reductions will be coming from the lack of transactions at the top end of the market,” says Mead.
He says the mansion tax plan stems from “divisive class rhetoric that has blinded politicians to more sensible ways of raising revenue”.
Mead claims the number of billionaires in £140m apartments have been blown out of all proportion by Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls.
“Overseas property investors do not leave their London homes empty. There aren’t enough super-rich buyers out there to turn Chelsea into an empty fortress,” according to Mead.