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Boris Johnson urged to back overseas buyers Stamp Duty hike

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30/10/2013
An MP is calling on Boris Johnson to support charging non-EU citizens higher Stamp Duty on London properties in order to stop a “distortion” of the housing market.

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Simon Hughes is urging Johnson and other policymakers to “wake up” before the capital’s housing became a commodity for the “global super-rich”.

As well as supporting the imposition of higher taxes on non-EU citizens or companies, the MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark is calling for the mayor to consider giving long-term residents priority in buying local homes. He also wants the mayor to support his proposal of tax incentives for investors into affordable housing.

Hughes wrote: “I strongly believe that we cannot stand by and let the London housing market be dramatically and perhaps irreversibly distorted by vast sums of money from foreign investors – many of whom have never even heard of the Old Kent Road, let alone walked down it.

“Policymakers must wake up from their non-interventionist slumber, act now and intervene in the housing market and tax and regulatory system, to make sure that decent and affordable homes are available to all.”

Hughes also called for more research into the effect of overseas investment on the price, affordability and supply of homes across London.

He pointed to research from Chesterton Humberts suggesting 60% of new build homes in central London were bought by overseas purchasers.

A spokeswoman for the mayor said increasing the supply of housing for hard-working Londoners was Johnson’s greatest priority: “Overseas investment in London is important in supporting the delivery of new housing, at a time when both bank lending and mortgages are restricted.

“Without this investment, many homes would simply not get built, including the much needed affordable homes on these developments. “

Recent LSE research indicated only 6.5% of total house sales by value in London went to overseas buyers, she added.

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