Report by Kingston University Wealth Chain Project led by Dr Rex McKenzie (research funded by Trust for London): ‘Tax Haven Money in London Real Estate’.

Download the report here

Launch on 7th November includes discussion between Dr McKenzie and Professor and Prof Rowland Atkinson of Sheffield University (author of 'Alpha City: How London was captured by the super-rich'). Live on YouTube here at https://youtu.be/JfvppQI0PDc

The report details purchases of London’s residential property between 1999 and 2022, by owners registered in offshore tax haven jurisdictions. It focuses on estimates of the scale of these flows and considers the social and demographic consequences of this type of capital flow. It also reveals an additional 44,000 properties.

Main findings are:

A key motivation guiding offshore buyers of London’s real estate is its use as a pure investment. London’s homes are a store of value in the same way as safety deposit boxes are used to store value.

  1. Concentration – residential offshore owned properties are heavily concentrated in the City of London and in Westminster, which together account for 23% of all offshore properties in Greater London. The other area of concentration is Kensington and Chelsea accounting for 13% of all offshore-owned homes in London.
  2. There are far more properties held offshore than previously estimated. The report's analysis of offshore data moves beyond the basic number of titles to find 44,000 more properties than previously reported, making for a grand total of 138,000 offshore-owned properties in England and Wales.
  3. The dominant offshore centres funnelling money into London property were the British Overseas Territories & British Crown Dominions. This raises important questions relating to Britain's imperial past and the role of the former colonies in British economic life.
  4. We reveal that offshore investment has negatively affected hard-pressed and minority ethnic groups in London. These groups appear to have been pushed to the outer London boroughs.
  5. The residents and representatives of affected areas show a pervasive mistrust of local councillors who were responsible for key housing and planning decisions that privilege investment capital in their areas.
  6. We suggest the need for a progressive tax on offshore investment that could be used to offset the social costs induced by it in London and the UK more generally.

Dr Rex McKenzie, author of the Report said,

‘In order to address the social harms associated with tax haven inflows into London’s property market, an annual progressive tax levied on offshore owners is needed. The proceeds should be directed at supporting both housing and social and economic services. Until quite recently this would have been impossible because we simply would not know who to tax.’