Yup we all have these moments, it usually comes after a ‘watch this’, or ‘you’ll never believe what I just heard’. There is no escaping these moments and anyone reading this has a few instances where this happens, or as some married women say, welcome to my life, I get this at least once a day. Such things happen and for one station one could argue that they should not have married that person (40% divorce ratings proof me right).
Oh, and before I forget, the next instalment of the free RPG IP for Sony products comes next. So that is one part that will be coming, I was actually about to work on it when ‘Sheikh Khalifa’s £5bn London property empire’ (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/ng-interactive/2020/oct/18/revealed-sheikh-khalifas-5bn-london-property-empire) passed my eyes. I wanted to add a comic I remembered, but I cannot find it. It was the early 80’s and in that instance you see three Arabs talking, one saying ‘Shopping was nice, today I bought Bond street and Piccadilly’, which was a reality around 1985, the shops would worship you if you came with German Marks or American Dollars, it was that bad, so the idea that a lot of prime real estate is not British owned is not really a surprise. In 2014 the Daily Mail gives us ‘How wealthy Gulf Arabs are buying up huge swathes of the capital – and now make up a tenth of all buyers in exclusive Mayfair’, as such what the Guardian had in mind to make it some exclusive ‘revealed’ story seems to be a bit of a stretch. In addition to this we can argue (and no disrespect intended) that Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan with a £5,500,000,000 real estate empire is according to some sources not really super wealthy, but he is getting up there. Yes, how sad are we when we gawp at an amount that other refer to as ‘Meh!’. The article goes on with “Now, leaked documents, court filings and analysis of public records have enabled the Guardian to map Khalifa’s property holdings in the UK, revealing how the oil-rich nation’s president became a major landlord in London. Khalifa’s London property empire appears to surpass even that of the Duke of Westminster, the 29-year-old billionaire aristocrat who owns swathes of the city”, which makes me go ‘Really?’ Consider 1 Hyde Park, how many British owners are in that building? Can we get a rundown per nationality please? In 2019 we got (source: Elite Traveller) “London’s luxury real estate market has been given a well-timed boost with the news that a super-prime penthouse has sold for a reported $72million. The sale represents one of the biggest in the United Kingdom in the last year. The property is the largest in the new Clarges Mayfair development on Piccadilly, which has proved popular with the global elite since its completion last year. The purchase was completed by Quintessentially Estates working on behalf of an international client”, there are actual Arab run investment firms in the UK who specialise in real estate projects, and they are pretty much the only ones who can afford living in London, so why is anyone surprised? Why is the Guardian (in this instance) going all ‘revealed’ over one person who might not be the biggest investor in London, and in a stage where the London city administration is pushing these events, why is there a lack of that part of the equation? Even as Forbes gave us earlier this year ‘Is It Time To Move Out Of London?’, we see stage where the Coronavirus is hitting landlords with almost no manoeuvring space, they are all panicking. Even as they focus on “Similarly, rents in the capital are also extortionately high for many, with the latest Rightmove Rental Index putting average London rents at £2,119 per month in Q4 2019, compared with £817 in the same period for properties outside of London. And although the latest ONS Index of Private Housing Rental Prices showed that London prices increased 1.3% year on year in January, compared to 1.6% for the rentals outside of the capital, it’s of little meaning in the bigger picture where capital rentals are on average more than twice of their surrounding neighbours” the stage of landlords is less clearly stated, some when on a limb because it was a sure deal, as such no-one was ready for an even outlier like Covid-19, and no-one was expected to, so nw we see that others are taking over with discount a large setting of the housing available. London will grow back to strength and those with a few millions here and there and not needing them will make a rather nice profit over the next 3-4 years. That is how it works, so when I look at “Analysis of Land Registry data suggests Khalifa’s commercial and private property portfolio includes about 170 properties, ranging from a secluded mansion near Richmond Park to multiple high-end London office blocks occupied by hedge funds and investment banks” I merely shrug and say ‘Meh!’, and the stage of “hedge funds and investment banks” has been the stage of London properties for decades, so why is this big news? Was it so you could avoid reporting on ‘Islamic State calls to attack Saudi Arabia over Israel’s deals with UAE, Bahrain’, yes it makes perfect sense to attack nation A, because nation B and C had a deal with nation D. Yes, that might actually have revolutionary details (sorry, pun intended). And as I go over the Guardian article, I cannot say that it is a bad article, it is actually a good article, yet the entire ‘revealed’ part is a little anti-climatic and the idea that a decently wealthy person from the United Arab Emirates is investing in London might not even constitute news, or newsworthy. That has been going on for well over a decade. So when we consider “housing a secretive Liechtensteinian company, Holbein Anstalt, which manages the royal family’s private affairs”, an optional actual fact (I did not check the fact), we might consider asking the editor of the Guardian (Katharine Viner) if she has been drinking the other cool-aid.
The issue is not the current owners, it is the setting where the City of London is doing actual work to set a stage where affordable housing becomes more readily available. I wonder if the waiting list of that part has diminished below 10 years yet. London is one f the few plays in the world where a first house is only affordable for people at the END of their career, it is quite the achievement for the City of London.