London’s Evening Standard appears to have the bit between its editorial teeth when it comes to reporting on the latest property scandal. According to last Friday’s paper, more than 700 “ghost mansions” worth a total of £3 billion lie empty and unused across the capital while the rest of London is heading towards the worst housing crisis in its history.
The story is a difficult read for anyone, myself included, who is keen to get on that illusive property ladder. Paul Palmer, an “empty” homes detective, said: “Offshore investors are using some of London’s finest homes as real-life Monopoly pieces.” Mayor Boris Johnson has called on councils to levy punitive council tax for long unoccupied homes. This suggestion has been supported by leading property figures including interior designer Kelly Hoppen.
With property prices rising and the hunger for London homes getting more ferocious, opinion is divided on whether the future will see an increase in “ghost mansions” or a decrease as they are converted for the growing luxury property market. My fear is that the trend will spread to include cheaper properties and owning bricks and mortar in London is only going to get harder.