Highrise is coming

Read in Het Parool of 1 August 2015:


So we spent a week in London. We booked an Airbnb in Hampstead Heath, London North. An excellent appartment, though rather small compared to Dutch standards. We met friends, all living in London now. Why did they chose for London? Because, they said, here are the jobs. Sure, they admitted, London is an expensive city. Even for a small dwelling you have to pay a fortune. The average housing price in London is 650.000 euro now. You have to earn at least 100.000 euro a year if you want to buy one. But there are lots of opportunities. And don’t forget all the amenities. Dutch newspapers love to write about ‘ghost streets’ in Kensington and Mayfair, where billionaires buy real estate from paper, without seeing it. The Amsterdam based newspaper Het Parool even headed ‘Londen staat leeg’ (‘London is vacant’), which is nonsense of course. In reality, London is heading for a population of 10 million inhabitants. In 2040 Great Britain will have a bigger population than Germany.The newspaper quoted David Galman, director of the new Maintower on Canary Wharf. All appartments in his tower were being sold without mortgage. Buyers came from China, the Middle East, India and Greece. “It proofs that the world puts trust in the housing market of London.” But the Dutch prefer their small cities with their cheap houses.

The London housing market is overheated, for sure. The situation fits in a global pattern. Cities are back on stage again, but certainly not all cities. Many are shrinking, becoming cheaper (which is a problem in itself). But all successful cities, worldwide: Sydney, San Francisco, London, Paris, Moscow, Beijing, New York, Amsterdam, are fighting against a lack of affordable houses. If you want to live in one of those dream cities, you will have to earn a lot of money nowadays. What is happening in Mayfair and Belgrave is exceptional though. Rich people are speculating there with (exceptional) real estate. The task of local government is making developers to build as many houses as possible in a very dense setting and providing mass transit all over the place. This will reduce the average price and will keep people coming. London is not a densely built city at all. I had a look at Nine Elms, Old Street, Battersea, Canary Wharf. Highrise is coming to town.





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