Sir, James Maughan ( Letters, January 16), responding to Martin Wolf’s Comment (January 9), states that the Swiss put locals first in their housing market. Let me add that Austria and Denmark have had restrictions for more than 40 years, first to prevent Germans from controlling the markets for holiday homes, which was very likely in view of the disparity in population numbers. Even after the establishment of the EU, Denmark maintains a high level of restrictions on property ownership, while Austria’s restrictions apply primarily to non-EU citizens and to EU citizens who use the property as a second home.
Here in Hong Kong we have almost every weekend property sales exhibitions where Chinese typically buy UK property (predominately in London) off-plan. Often they do not care where the property is located, and since the purchase is for investment the apartment may very well remain unoccupied. So I fear only the property developers benefit but not the rental market.
Well, if my friends who work in London are to have a better chance of also living in London, the measures by continental European countries could provide food for thought — if the Greater London Authority has the stomach for this.
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