Saturday, 19 January 2013

The London wealth gap. A recipe for more unrest?

 I was reading in utter amazement a front page article in the London Evening Standard which reported that three quarters of the first phase of a luxury housing development had been sold in just four days. The prices started at £350,000 for just a studio flat and rose to £6 million for a penthouse. Many of the buyers are from overseas, especially Asia.

How long can the London property bubble be sustained? This is difficult to answer but due to the fact that over half of all property bought in London is by overseas buyers, the current momentum is being driven by the wealth created in growing and emerging markets. The UK and US economies are being kept afloat by unprecedented central bank intervention which is sustaining the wealthy elite.

The gap between rich and poor has always been wide in London but it seems that it is now reaching huge proportions. With the prospect of many more cuts to social welfare, increasing energy bills and increasing food prices; the social unrest that we witnessed in 2011 could seem quite minor in comparison to future displays of discontent. I wonder if all of these overseas property 'investors' realise what they may be letting themselves in for.

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