The Guardian is back with an interesting twist on how London is ruining its own future. The article ‘Come see London’s latest luxury housing venture – where a car space is £50,000‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/22/come-see-londons-latest-luxury-housing-venture-where-a-car-space-is-50000).
Behold The Aykon Tower, the first step to truly remove equality to a population and push exploitation to new heights. The following quotes should raise alarms “London’s first fashion-branded tower went on sale on Tuesday – prices start at £711,000 for a studio – with each one of the 360 luxury apartments designed with the “elegance and sensuality” of Donatella Versace“, the second more disturbing is “But in yet more evidence of the city’s extraordinary property boom, visitors attending the launch of the 168m-high Aykon Tower were told that all of the Thames-facing apartments had already been snapped up in ‘pre-sales’“, I personally believe that this is incorrect. I believe that the quote should be “all of the Thames-facing apartments had already been offered to the in-crowd and those to be considered special ‘friends’“, the fact that we see the added information “Forced by planning rules to include social housing, the developers are erecting a separate, rather more squat building for housing association tenants. It will have a “poor door” – a separate entrance to the main tower – and no access to the luxury amenity floor“, now we can accept that like with a luxury liner or a plane, the first class has extra options and those travelling coach do not get those, yet, the fact that this is approached with ‘a poor door’ shows how eager London realtors seems to be pushing for class distinction. The added issue is not just what is pushed for classes it is the part “In a revealing insight into the economics of London’s residential tower-building frenzy, Hamptons reckons that buyers need only put down a 5% deposit now – around £50,000 on a typical one-bed flat – and another 20% over the next 18 months, yet they could then walk away with a profit projected at £230,000 on a £1m apartment without even stepping inside” that takes the cake, a side of growth that will benefit less than 1% of the top incomes of the UK, which amounts to a little less than 500,000 people. And this is only the first of several projects. So is this an overreaction on my side?
Consider that this market is about resale, a form of resale before the apartments have been completed, the fact that this entire setup, even though it is set for regeneration of the Nine Elms district and it is nice that the US Embassy is going to that area, but how is this helping the 99% that can never afford this? So, even as we read that 25% of this building is for social housing (minus the amenities), 90 houses does not go far, even though I will admit that 90 is a start, considering it needs well over 35,000 new social rental properties each year, this in an age where the London cost goes up almost 20% each year and the pressure of homelessness and rents blowing out of proportions and poor conditions in existing homes only pushes up pressures, giving additional illustration on how inappropriate the Aykon Tower seems to be.
In addition, the fact that this seems to be a money rush from foreigners to foreigners is added ammunition for the people of London to get truly disgruntled.
Yet the issue remains, how to solve it all? You see, as I see it London is only digging its own grave here, by allowing for London to become unaffordable, how will hospitals continue? When nurses require 3 hours travel every day in a time when they are already exhausted, how long until they find a hospital with affordable living nearby? How will shops continue when staff can no longer get to where they work? Never mind the shops closing down due to the internet. London is already unaffordable, now with the overload of foreign investors who are buying property they will never live in, that shift of living balance will deteriorate even further. You see many shops rely on more than just tourists and when the London population are wealthy foreigners just parking their ‘however begotten gains’ London will face the silence of the grave sooner rather than later.
Still, how exaggerated is this view?
Well, first off, several sources already claimed in 2013 that buying a house whilst earning less than £500k ($800k) is pretty much no longer an option. Now consider the quote “the mid-ranking banker on an income of less than £500k ($800k) – he (or she) often can’t afford to buy a house in London“, which pretty much states the issue, if even bankers can no longer get by, what remains? And that is just housing, schooling and other elements have not been considered. So as we consider the dangers for London, please keep in mind that upcoming jobs will soon not matter as those working cannot afford to pay rent at all. This means that either new jobs are paid higher from the start, or a switch pushing jobs away from London into other regions (where possible) would become the next set of nails into the Coffin named London.
When we read the additional advertisements regarding The Abbey Tower boasting a ‘fully private block with no social housing’, I wonder why these people are coming to London to begin with. Even though it was met with the comment by London Assembly member Darren Johnson on how honest it was, I do wonder if he was biting his nails on this one, even as we read that London mayor Boris Johnson has been urging to give Londoners a chance to get on the housing ladder, it seems to me that the solution offered by DICO UK Property Holdings Ltd is to make sure that Londoners cannot even close to afford it, this in light that the studio apartment is only affordable for the top 1% of the earners and how many of those are willing to go to a studio apartment?
Which takes me to an interesting find regarding the Canary Wharf Tower, that even though it went to the local population for 50% of it, the rest went to foreign investors, which includes a fair amount of Greeks, so where did THEY get the money from? Aren’t they down half a trillion and in that light, if these places are now regarded as options for possible tax evaders, how will others react to this? The danger of London becoming a haven for parking possibly ill-gotten gains is not one we can ignore.
Consider that I have been on a decently good income, even that income will now no longer give me anything within the M25 circle, whilst I was living across the street from former Prime Minister John Howard just a few years ago. That shift is weird and scary for any person to consider, so as we consider that Life in London would be limited to the Saturday visit, how scared does parliament need to get before they realise that they are largely responsible for making the housing market unobtainable for those under 40, so as they need another solution, where will they go and once they leave what will be left?
And even though the Labour party ignored this issue for what should be regarded as ‘their powerbase’, so as the Labour party whinges “a result of the Government’s failure to build enough new homes“, yet when we look at 1997 – 2010 we see that for every 170 houses sold under Right To Buy between 1997 and 2013, only one new social home was built. Minister Stephen Williams (Liberal Democrat) stated “the number of social rented homes under Labour falling by 420,000 from 1997 to 2010“, so how surprised should Ed Miliband be that he did not get elected? Even now we see half-baked promises by the Labour party stating on their site (http://www.labourinlondon.org.uk/london_housing_crisis), which, pardon my British is a load of Bollocks (Johnny Rotten was a great English teacher). Consider the quote “We will start a massive increase in house building – to at least 200,000 homes a year“, this is nowhere near realistic. Where do they think to build them? Relabelling Anglia into Far-East London might not go over well. Considering that it makes Chelmsford Middle-Eastern London will be met with even more opposition, especially in light of the pummelling Chris Vince got by Sir Simon Burns (51% versus 19%). So as the Labour party is wondering why they were not elected, I wonder how a dose of realism will help them. Yet, this is not about just Labour, the Tories have made near equal disastrous actions in the housing department and it will take a massive realignment in off course actions to come even close to saving part of what was lost. As we see the massive profits that The Aykon Tower is making another arrangement is needed, especially as the builders know that they will make a really good living, instead of having them get away with their 75% option, giving them an option of only 10% in social housing with the added requirement of setting down at least two buildings first that are 75% affordable housing in another part of London might be an option. Still, we have to consider that as the space within the M25 is now dwindling down to zero, other options have to be considered, including the nightmare scenario of a population cap for London. That last part is not even close to realistic from my side, but consider the risk of choosing between London Partial Living Ltd. and Cemetery London Inc.
Which of the two would you choose?