London is the epicentre of the British affordable housing crisis, and while there are over 500 high-rises under construction in the capital, consuming nearly every available lot, virtually every one of these towers is designed to serve the high-end luxury market (despite plummeting prices in this category), whose anonymous offshore buyers often never occupy or rent out the flats they buy, merely holding them to flip them later.
Nearly half of London's offshore-owned highest-end housing stock is vacant, and the more valuable a property is, the less likely it is that anyone lives there.
This figure rises to more than one-third of buyers, or 36 per cent, if we look at the "prime" market areas of central London over the same period. Here, vacancy was measured by looking at homes with little or no "transactional data", relating to finance, retail or other forms of administration, such as tax records and bills.
On this measure, we find that half of residences in new builds in general are empty, as are 19 per cent of dwellings across London's inner boroughs. The likelihood that a home is empty rises alongside its market value: 39 per cent of homes worth £1m to £5m are underused, and 64 per cent of homes worth more than £5m. Of the homes owned by foreign investors, 42 per cent are empty.
The more expensive a property in London, the more likely it is to be empty [Rowland Atkinson/Citymetric]